PETRUS MURONGA

A company appointed to construct a Nkurenkuru primary healthcare facility in 2014, which is still not completed, has since April refused to hand over the site to new contractors for the completion of the project.

Sirrka Ausiku

Shafombabi Eedopi Construction was supposed to complete the facility on 15 April 2015, but has until now reportedly been holding up the Ministry of Health and Social Services after the ministry resolved to appoint six contractors to finish the structure.

Sirkka Ausiku, governor of the Kavango West region, says she is disappointed by the contractor’s conduct during a state of emergency.

Ausiku says the multimillion-dollar facility would act as a Covid-19 isolation centre.

“The contractor has not been forthcoming in handing over the site. The facility is urgently needed. He cannot hold the region to ransom,” the governor says.

She says if there is a dispute between the contractor and the ministry, there are channels to use to address the matter.

“We are asking him to hand over the site for other contractors to complete the facility. My appeal is that the ministry ensures the new contractor’s report to the site as a matter of urgency,” Ausiku says.

The owner of the construction company, Andrew Shafombabi, says there are issues to be clarified before he surrenders the site to the ministry, such as outstanding payments which are being reconciled.

“The work is 95% complete, but we started experiencing problems when the principal architect, Clarke Architects, left the country in 2017. Their departure caused us cash flow problems,” he says.

Shafombabi says the situation could have been resolved a long time ago “had it not been for the ministry taking long to resolve the issue”.

In 2017, Nampa reported on the stalled N$28 million project when it was visited by former vice president Nickey Iyambo.

At the time the contractor said they were waiting for materials ordered from South Africa.

The ministry’s procurement committee in April this year appointed six contractors to finalise the project.

The contractors were appointed to finalise electrical work and install fire detectors, telecommunication lines, air-conditioning and cold rooms, medical gas and a standby generator – all at a cost of N$933 000.

Ben Nangombe, executive director of health and social services on Monday said there has been some disagreements between the ministry and the contractor, but the matter has been resolved.

“I spoke to the contractor and we have resolved the issue. I said what we need to understand is that we are in a state of emergency, and the project has to be completed for it to be used as an isolation centre,” Nangombe said.

Nangombe said there were a number of factors causing the delay, “but what matters is that the issues have been resolved and the new contractors will start with the work very soon”.

– Nampa

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