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THE BLAME GAME

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OVERDUE: FRANCISTOWN STADIUM

Minister reports further cracks in Francistown Stadium project
The P175 million Francistown Stadium originally due for completion in April 2010, just got more expensive and further delayed. Briefing journalists at yet another tour of the problem-plagued stadium last Thursday, Infrastructure Minister Johnnie Swartz admitted that faults in the stadium’s structure would require further funding.
In his previous visit last September the constructor promised to have the stadium finished by March this year once problems relating to the pitch and athletics track were rectified. Now problems over the grandstand and changing rooms has delayed the opening for at least another six months. Already plans to include a roof to provide fans with shade have had to be abandoned due to faults in the design.

Minister Swartz shifted blame for the continued delay from the contactor Tuwana Construction Company to faults in the design that had been overlooked.
“We want to have a stadium of a required standard so the company has been given some new designs which means some work needs to be re-done. This project took so long and it is not satisfying, but we cannot terminate the contract since it will be more expensive and time consuming,” he said.
Gordon Baxter, project manager from the Department of Engineering and Building Services (DBES) said hopefully after six months the stadium would start functioning even if it was incomplete. He said they had drawn up new plans that involved making some changes to the grandstand and were waiting for some money from the government to start the additional work.

Tuwana representative L.S Wang blamed too many changes brought about by the consultant for the delay.
“We admit we did not meet the deadline but the consultant is also to be blamed, we want fairness here. From the plan the drain was omitted but now it is needed and we have to re-do the track field. We did not expect these hick-ups and we used our own money to do some additional work, even borrowing money from our home country China. We are losing a lot of money in this project. We have not been paid in18 months for the money we used in carrying out additional works,” Wang said.

Time Frame of The Project

28 February 2008
The Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Moeng Pheto announced that the construction of the Francistown Stadium begins March 17 with a ground-breaking ceremony.

08 June 2009
Media reports that Francistown Stadium was 22% behind schedule, the construction company said when briefing the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Gladys Kokorwe on the progress of the much-awaited stadium. Project engineer Robert Manyathelo said the company was experiencing a shortage of skilled manpower, but efforts to employ more China workers were not successful as Botswana labour rules do not permit them to import trades people.

10 November
Media report that the stadium was 56% complete which means it was  not going be ready by January 29, 2010. Department of Building and Engineering Services (DBES) Principal Public Relations Officer Ms Morwalela Dux Kesalopa said the project was 150 days behind schedule.

5 July 2010
Delegation of Francistown Councillors Tour The Project.
Tuwana resident engineer, Douglas Kamedza insisted that shortage of skilled labour was hampering progress and promised that by the end June everything would be done. He said it would be very difficult for him to give the exact completion date because the contractor has bungled the job, especially the grandstand.

22 July 2011
Minister’s Tour of The Project
Project managers say the stadium is 96% complete with the only delay being the restructuring of the track field and the planting of the grass. The response from the contractor was that they expect to complete the project by March 2012.

September
Minister Swartz told parliament that the 30000 capacity stadium had structural defects, which caused the delay and that it will be ready April 2012. Swartz was answering a question from Francistown South MP Wynter Mmolotsi.

7 June 2012
Minister Swartz again tours the stadium
Media reports that the Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Christopher Nyanga, has admitted that lack of proper scrutiny in the design plan for the Francistown Stadium by the ministry is one of the problems that affected the long awaited project to be completed on time. Tuwana construction company blame the consultant for bringing new drawings for the project which forced them to re-do part of grandstand.