Aranos Town Council in the Hardap Region paid a N$2.3 million to a contractor that they dismissed for incompetence before engaging a new contractor for N$900 000, Willem Uirab the town’s chief Executive Officer told The Villager this week.
The town first hired, Neels van Wyk, as a contractor of the project to erect street lights, who received N$2.1 million for doing over 90% of the construction before the town council decided on pulling the plug on grounds of incompetency.
The council then engaged Hue-waldt contractors to finish seven percent of the work, although van Wyk needed N$400 000 to complete the rest of the project.
Uirab told The Villager that the initial contractor, Van Wyk, was incompetent and unable to carry out his task at putting up street lights in the town’s poorest informal settlements, Nuwerus and Bosduin.
The new contractors of the project told The Villager that the project is going to last for about four more months, while, Uirab said he does not expect the project to last that long as he expect them to be finished within a month a two.
“With us it is all about competence. If you cannot get something done, we let you go. We are focusing on making progress. That’s what happens to projects, they are been started, delayed, and cancelled, it is because the people tasked to carry them out are incompetent. There is no other reason we took the project from him (Van Wyk), it is his incompetence.” Uirab said.
The project, according to Uirab has been on/off for about three to four times, and as this happens, the lack of street lights at nights, especially in Nuwerus and Bosduin prompts issues of crime in the town, community members say.
This project is not the only project that has been delayed from time to time as the town council also has been putting the sewerage and clean-up projects have been on the delayed.
“We are going to work in accordance to ensure that these project (electricity) and the sewage project push through during this financial year. We are working on finding contractors who will carry out these project and others properly and in due time,” Uirab who took the office early these year said.
The project is part of the town’s capital projects as part of their development plan. Neels Van Wyk, a locally based electricity contractor said the town council handed him the project and seized it from him after he completed about 93.8% of the project and handed it to new contractors, Hue-waldt Electrical and Construction based in Windhoek.
According to Van Wyk, the project was snatched from him after he notified the council that the he needs more funding in order to complete the rest of the project (they paid him N$2.1 million at this time).
“This issue is with my lawyer now. The bill they offered me and the plan they outlined completely differ. They added extra routes and when the N$150 000 they included for materials finished, they didn’t want to give more money. The council must just fix their shenanigans if they want this project to ever work out. They made a mistake and they must accept it,” Van Wyk told The Villager.
Members of the public early last year held a demonstration for the tender of to be handed over to contractors based in the town, in which the council handed it to Van Wyk on 6 June 2015. He added that there was no council
“That project can be completed in only two to three weeks. The bulk of the project is already complete, the only thing left is connecting the cables to the electricity supplier and those dark areas will be lit. They are procrastinating,” Neels said.
The Auditor General reported that this same town council failed to account for two government loans of over N$4 million in the 2013/14 financial year. The report states that the council held a guarantee of N$93 000 on its debtors ledger, but failed to produce proof thereof or to substantiate this claim.
The town council currently only has the Aranos Abattoir as its only electrical debtor, while the rest of the town’s electricity is being supplied by the Southern Electricity Company (SELco).The report also indicates that provision for doubtful debts was overstated by N$756 996 while trade payables were understated by over N$1.7 million.
The Ministry of Urban and Rural Development pushed for a budget allocation of N$1, 122 917 000 as to be used for their Regional and Local Authorities Coordination Programme. The programme aims at enhancing the governance structures as well as support to recognized traditional authorities to perform their community administrative and development roles.