South African civils firm still keen on Botswana, despite recent setback

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21 September 2017
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South African civils firm still keen on Botswana, despite recent setback

South African civil construction company Khato Civils is continuing with the roll-out of its broad investment into the Botswana market, despite legal action recently taken against the company, which saw several of its business bank accounts being frozen.

Khato Civils chairperson Simbi Phiri tells Engineering News Online that the freezing of eight of Khato Civils’ bank accounts was instituted when rivals tried to push the company out of Botswana and remove it from competing afor a key strategic water project in 2016.

During a recent severe drought that led to drastic water shortages in Gaborone, the government opened a tender for a water pipeline from Mahalapye to Gaborone to increase the volume of water available to the capital city. Khato Civils submitted its tender, in which it claimed it could build the pipeline in 18 months.

Phiri claims that competitor tenders set out far longer construction timelines and that they were riled by the Khato Civils bid. He alleges that competitors then lodged complaints to Botswana’s Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).

Subsequently, the DCEC froze eight bank accounts linked to Khato Civils, which hold money totalling 24-million Pula.

After numerous court appearances and appeal processes, Khato Civils won the case, having the charges dropped and its bank accounts reinstated.

Despite the setbacks, Khato Civils remains interested in Botswana as a market and has registered a Botswana division. “We registered the company, but to actually operate you need to register with the Public Procurement & Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) of Botswana.”

Following delays, Phiri says Khato Civils has managed to secure PPADB registration.

The company plans to build on its existing investment into Botswana’s construction industry with the building of new offices, warehouses and workshops. Although the North-South Carrier project has subsequently been cancelled, Phiri says he is keen to look at other projects and will keenly await any new North-South Carrier project developments.

Source:  Engineering News ( Edited by: Terence Creamer
Creamer Media Editor

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