Botswana president praises controversial Khato Civils

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Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi has praised a controversial South African construction company for a job well done on a water pipeline in his country.  Photo: Twitter
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi has praised a controversial South African construction company for a job well done on a water pipeline in his country. Photo: Twitter


Botswana president Mokgweetsi Masisi has applauded a South African company – which is fighting to clear its name locally over a R3.5 billion water project – for completing a P900 million (R1.169 billion) water pipeline in his country within budget and record time.

Johannesburg-based Khato Civils completed the 100km-long Masama-Mmamashia pipeline in July and Masisi officially opened the pipeline on the weekend. The pipeline draws water from an aquifer and supplies it to Botswana’s capital city Gaborone and 23 villages.

However, in South Africa the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has instituted a civil claim in the Polokwane High Court to recover R4.1 billion from LTE Consulting, Khato Civils and Lepelle Northern Water Board in relation to the R3.5 billion Giyani water project, which aimed to supply water to 40 village in Limpopo’s Mopani District.

READ: Prosecution imminent in corrupt R3bn Giyani water project

LTE subcontracted Khato for construction of the project.

Khato Civils abandoned the project due to many months of non-payment for work done, and has insisted that it can prove and account for every cent it was paid to the court.

READ: Khato and South Zambezi are above board 

Masisi’s praise comes after Khato Civils finished the project in Botswana, which would ordinarily take two years, within one year and saved the government P1.2 billion.

Masisi said: 

I wish to urge other contractors to complete government projects on time and within budget. The pipeline did not only improve the reliability of water supply but also enhanced the socioeconomic status of the people living along the pipeline corridor. I am informed that more than 700 Botswana, both skilled and unskilled, were employed during the construction of the project.
Mokgweetsi Masisi

After the Giyani project, Khato Civils finished large projects in South Africa such as the the M1 double decker bridge rehabilitation and upgrade in Johannesburg worth R170.5 million, the R493.2 million Saldanha Bay new bulk electrical supply infrastructure and the construction of outfall sewer pipelines in Polokwane valued at R81.3 million.

READ: After abandoning Giyani water project for non-payment, SA company earns high praise in Botswana 

It is now venturing aggressively into the continent and has bid for various bulk water and road construction projects in countries such as Malawi, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Ghana, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya. Khato Civils chairperson Simbi Phiri said his company aimed to work in 42 countries in Africa.

Two weeks ago Phiri announced a groundbreaking initiative where Khato Civils committed to mentor three local firms with 30% of the value of the projects that the company will be awarded in any project.

READ: SA construction company ploughs back to smaller firms

The company launched the initiative in Botswana, but had allocated the entire 30% to one company when it built the pipeline.

Phiri said local companies would be mentored on how to run finances, management and adapt to the Khato Civils model. “If we start training three companies, at least two should succeed. We made a mistake of allocating 30% of the contract value in Botswana to one company and that was managed poorly. Learning from such experiences is how we can ensure we have a positive impact as we grow,” Phiri said.


Sizwe sama Yende 


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