Stalled work on the Kazungula Bridge development has been returned to normalcy with the contractor, Daewoo International re-mobilising to full capacity. Daewoo International in early this month had issued a contractually enforceable notice to suspend works on the bridge project as a result of delayed or non-payment of amounts due from the employer, a joint 50/50 partnership between the governments of Botswana and Zambia.
Following intervention and facilitated interactions between President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and President of Zambia, Edgar Lungu as well as ministers responsible, work returned to full capacity on Monday April 1. Minister of Transport and Communications, Dorcus Makgato jointly met the contractor with her Zambian counterpart yesterday to map a commonly understood and agreed way forward.
The project that was initially anticipated to be completed sometimes this year is now expected to be completed in 2020. “Necessary consultations have since taken place, and the employer has moved swiftly to correct by paying all the arrears, and obtaining the contractor’s agreement to not only lift the prevailing suspension conditions, which have, lately, been in force, but to assure that the project will be delivered to the required standards and specifications by 2020,” Makgato said.
According to Makgato, as part of resolving the problem, a required minimum amount of US Dollars 16.62m, which has been overdue, is in the process of being transmitted to the contractor. Makgato further says an added control measure with direct ministerial oversight has been put in place as of yesterday to ensure that such disruptions are avoided in the future.
Because of its strategic importance to the SADC region, and wider trade-facilitation across Africa and beyond, both the governments of Botswana and Zambia recognise their mutual commitment to having the Kazungula Bridge Project completed soon and in the most cost-effective way.