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Ministry to regulate construction sector

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Caswell Tlali

MASERU — The government is planning to establish a council for civil engineers to regulate the construction industry, the Sunday Express can reveal.

The decision comes in the wake of concerns that the construction industry was largely unregulated resulting in contractors doing shoddy jobs especially on government tenders. 

There have been concerns that because of lack of a council to enforce standards some contractors have built substandard roads and bridges.

Some of the bridges have been washed away a few months after construction.

Some roads have not lasted a few years beyond their construction.

Some have been so badly damaged that they are now a danger to their users.

There have also been concerns that some contractors were failing to finish their jobs on time.

To deal with these problems the government is now said to be planning to set up a civil engineers council to regulate the construction industry.

The Ministry of Public Works last Friday invited local contractors and civil engineers to a meeting to discuss plans to set up the council, among other issues.

The construction industry receives government tenders worth millions of maloti every year.  Sources at the meeting, held at Manthabiseng Convention Centre, said they discussed plans by the public works ministry to formulate policies and guidelines that will ensure quality control in the sector.

The decision to set up the council comes a week after our sister paper, the Lesotho Times, reported about a controversial road construction project in Thaba-Tseka.

The Mantsonyane to Thaba-Tseka Road, which was built by the Lesotho Consolidated Construction Company (LCCC), a subsidiary wholly owned by the Nthane Brothers has now been washed away by the rains hardly two years after the road was commissioned.

This is despite the fact that a whopping M140 million was used to construct the road.

A participant at the Friday meeting, These Phooko, whose Thescons construction firm has won several government tenders over the years, confirmed the plan to set up the civil engineers council.

Phooko said the government hired special consultants to carry out a study on how the construction industry could be improved and map the way forward for the council.

“The meeting was an initiative of the ministry with the purpose to gather opinions from players in the industry on how it should be governed,” Phooko said.

 “We need laws that will help improve the construction industry and especially to deal with contractors who do shoddy jobs.”

Phooko said concerns that some contractors were not performing up to the expected standard were also raised during the meeting.

Efforts to contact the public works ministry were not successful.

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