THE 6, 5-kilometre road from Lekhalaneng to Ha Matala traffic circle via Ha Pita, whose construction has taken over two years, will finally be completed next month, the contractor has said.
Matekane Group of Companies (MGC) – Construction was contracted by the Maseru City Council to rehabilitate the urban road in May 2016.
According to MGC Head of Corporate Communication and Marketing, ‘Mamotake Matekane, the project was delayed by five months due to infrastructure for companies like the Water and Sewage Company (WASCO), the Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) and Econet Telecom Lesotho which had to be transferred before the work could commence.
“The first design of the road was recalled when we had already ordered material and that was three months into the project,” Ms Matekane said.
“When the new design came, it changed the majority of the project.
“It also took time for service companies such as (WASCO, LEC and Econet to relocate some of their infrastructure which was in the way of the work. For instance, WASCO had 110mm, 250mm and 200mm diameter pipes on both sides of the route which when we started digging, had to divert the direction of the water on regular basis so that people can continue accessing water while we worked.”
She also said they also encountered challenges from some residents who had illegally extended their residential stands’ sizes encroaching into the are which the roadworks were supposed to be conducted.
“Some residents had illegally extended their yards and some even erected toilets or pigsties in the space meant for road construction. The communities were reluctant to move their property when we engaged them and we also engaged the Land Administration Authority officers to resurvey.
“Heavy rains, especially those that fell in the country earlier this year also disrupted our work and resulted in delays. The work was supposed to have been completed three months ago but due to some of the reasons that I have mentioned, we will only finish next month,” she said.
Ms Matekane however, said she sincerely apologised for failure to notify the affected communities of the delays.
Asked whether the government’s financial challenges affected their performance, Ms Matekane said that delayed payments always negatively impacted on most businesses and her company was not spared.
“The issue of government declaring bankruptcy did not bring anything new to our attention. They may take time to pay but eventually they do. It is general knowledge that companies encounter challenges whenever they have to get payment from government hence we often get suppliers to offer us credit and then we pay them later when the employer (government) pays us.
“However, sometimes buying on credit becomes a challenge in that when the demand is high. The supplier tends to prioritise those who buy on cash basis therefore we have to wait for cash buyers to be served first,” Ms Matekane said.
Contacted for comment, MCC public relations officer, Makatleho Mosala, also indicated that delays are often caused by services along the proposed route which are not relocated on time.
“When we plan a road construction, we engage a consultant who draws up a plan which shows the services or areas which will be affected and the costs involved,” Ms Mosala said.
She said they also face challenges with service providers who provide inaccurate maps for their infrastructure which further delays the work.
“At times the owners of the infrastructure delay their responses when you contact them. For instance, the Mohalalitoe road construction has not yet started because there is infrastructure that needs to be relocated first. It is difficult to construct roads in an area with existing residential units,” are things that need to be relocated first. It is not easy to construct a road in an existing residential area,” Ms Mosala said.