Unfinished govt projects anger Majoro
THE continued trend of poor service delivery has angered Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro who has now read the riot act to non-performing government officials over their failure to ensure the timely completion of projects.
Speaking in Maseru this week after receiving feedback from Development Planning Minister Selibe Mochoboroane, who toured various projects around the country, Dr Majoro ordered ministers to investigate why so many projects had not been finished.
He called on the ministers to report back to him within three months.
He said the ministers must also take disciplinary measures against public servants involved in these costly mishaps because the projects are costing the government millions of maloti without any benefits for the taxpayers.
One such project is the ‘Melikane Park Homes Project in Qacha’s Nek. When complete, it is expected to house the livestock registry and tattooing office in the district.
The project remains unfinished well over a year after its due date.
“The park homes have not been built, the Chinese contractor disappeared after being paid hence the work stopped,” Dr Majoro said. He did not say who the contractor is or how much had been paid out for the project.
“I have instructed the Minister of Home Affairs (Motlalentoa Letsosa) to retrieve the money paid to the contractor and to ensure that park homes are constructed. The minister should also ensure that these criminals are brought to book.
“He (Letsosa) should start investigations and find out who was responsible for paying the contractor for the work that was never done.
“The payment can only have been initiated from Ministry of Home Affairs. The necessary disciplinary action must be taken. If there is need for arrests, then so be it. This should be done in the next four weeks,” Dr Majoro said, adding Mr Letsosa had only four weeks to deal with the matter.
He said the ‘Melikane project was one clear example of widespread corruption in the government.
“The signs of corruptions are clear. Several projects that we were informed about only exist on paper. There is no actual work on the ground,” Dr Majoro said.
He bemoaned lack of monitoring on the part of government which allowed contractors to get away without fulfilling their contractual obligations.
The premier also advised the finance ministry not to process any payments to contractors and suppliers before confirming the existence of the projects that they are paying for. He said the Ministry of Development Planning must take responsibility by monitoring the work on the ground to ensure that the government is not fleeced by unscrupulous individuals and companies.
Dr Majoro added that delays in completing the projects were evidence of lack of monitoring by the government.
“Projects that should be done in two years end up running for six years. This is why contractors are able to vanish without delivering the service that they are supposed to deliver.
“The problem is that the government takes taxes from the people promising to bring development projects but fail dismally because those projects never materialise.
“The second project aimed to provide electricity in the selected villages in ’Melikane and local clinic by the Ministry of Energy. The contractor only installed a one-kilometre electric lines from the village and stopped operations in 2018.
“The Minister of Energy (Mohapi Mohapinyane) is instructed to facilitate the completion of electrification of ’Melikane village and the local clinic within five weeks,” Dr Majoro said.
In his report on the ‘Melikane project, Mr Mochoboroane had said that there was not much that had been accomplished except for the foundation and some unfinished toilets at the site.
“Nothing is in place… The subcontractor explained that they could not continue because the Chinese contractor was paid in full by the Ministry of Home Affairs but disappeared with the money before paying them and the project was stopped,” Mr Mochoboroane states in his report last month.
All in all, Mr Mochoboroane toured 20 projects in eight districts.
Among others, he visited the Rapokolana High Altitude Training Centre for athletes in the Maseru district, the Belo Industrial Estate in Butha-Buthe, and the Mafeteng Correctional Service.
Meanwhile, Dr Majoro also complained about the state of other unfinished projects and ordered the responsible ministers to ensure their completion.
Commenting on the proposed Rapokolana Training Centre, Dr Majoro said, “I have instructed the Minister of Gender (Likeli Tampane) to ensure that this project is completed in three months, and the ministers of Energy and of Local Government (Mohapinyane and Samuel Rapapa respectively) to ensure that there is electricity supply and the roads leading to this area are rehabilitated soon as the project is complete”.
Dr Majoro also spoke on the proposed industrial estate at Ha Belo in Butha-Buthe.
“The first phase has been within budget and did not have a time overrun. The project scope comprises 16 factory shells and utility infrastructure. These shells are anticipated to create 15 000 jobs. However, the challenge is lack of water supply and bulk electricity supply.
“I have instructed the Minister of Trade (Thabiso Molapo), Minister of Water (Nkaku Kabi), Minister of Local Government (Samuel Rapapa) and Minister of Energy (Mohapinyane) to speed up the completion of the estate and to provide the necessary utility infrastructure within four months. The Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) is required to provide the resource shortfall to bring the project to completion,” he said.