Yesterday, Mmegi carried a story on the government spending P34 million resurfacing the Boatle-Gaborone road only to destroy it two years later for a new dual carriage-way that is under construction. The P1.7 Billion carriage-way road is done under the Economic Stimulus Project (ESP) conceived in 2015.
The carriage-way is a welcome development because the road is one of the busiest, especially during peak hours. But spending millions on a project only to destroy it two years later makes no sense at all. Infact, it should be a crime to waste taxpayers’ money just like that. With the Boatle-Gaborone road relatively new, the P1.7 billion could have been channeled elsewhere.
The country is faced with many needs, and road infrastructure is not at its best. There are many bad roads all over the country. The much talked about Francistown-Mathangwane road, for an example, is in a very bad state, as is the Nata-Gweta one. These pot-holed roads have become death traps and have high accidents level with many lives lost in the process.
Clearly there is a problem of prioritising projects in government and this is worrisome. The country continues to lose billions of pula because of incompetence of some senior government officials. There is no culture of accountability in this country.
The Boatle-Gaborone saga should be investigated and those responsible for the poor planning be brought to book. They knew that the lifespan of the road was dead and should have developed the dual carriageway then instead of increasing the lifespan by six years and cutting it short while there are greater needs elsewhere.
We urge Minister Kitso Mokaila, and the whole government to be stringent and monitor contractors working on our roads to ensure that they are of high standard and would not have to be destroyed before time. When these roads are built, homesteads are moved to make way for construction. The exercise is costly on its own, and with a dual- carriage, more may need to be moved. This is bleeding an already struggling economy.
We can curb these massive expenses by ensuring there was due diligence and foresight in planning.
We also urge the government to act against contractors who fail to construct roads to expected standards as shoddy work eats into the country’s coffers and also pose a danger to road users, what with high fatal road accidents. There has also been an issue of sub-contractors being abused by foreign contractors.
We urge the ministry to protect these sub-contractors as that is necessary for their growth and instills good business ethic on their part as they grow to do bigger jobs. Batswana contractors should also learn to be professional when given tenders so that in the end foreign companies would not be considered.
“Our knowledge and all of our ideas are mutually connected; the more complicated they are, the more numerous must be the roads that lead to them and depart from them.”
- Cesare Beccaria