Red tape stumps electrification

February 3, 2015, 10:03am

Red tape stumps electrification

Administrative red tape has bogged down the implementation of phase two of an electrification project at the Blikkiesdorp informal settlement in Maltahöhe - angering the community and councillors.
It is now feared that the postponement of the project will result in the funds being returned to Treasury.
Village Council Chief Executive Officer Otto Richards has been accused of a lack of knowledge of tender procedures and of indecision.
According to a letter dated June last year - signed by acting Local Government Permanent Secretary Simanza Simenda - N$3 million had initially been allocated for the relocation of oxidation ponds. However, the village council was given the go-ahead to push on with the electrification project.
The council consequently invited tenders for electrification, street lighting and the construction of high-mast lighting.
The tender was awarded to Blitz Electrical and Construction. “The letter therefore serves to inform you that Maltahöhe Village Council should proceed with the appointment of Blitz to avoid delays and legal challenges,” Simenda said at the time.
The village council was advised to cater for any shortfall that may arise in terms of the relocation of the oxidation ponds, and to make a budgetary provision during the upcoming financial years, using a subsidy from the line ministry.
“Council should also identify suitable land for the relocation of the oxidation ponds,” Simenda said in his letter.
The tender awarded to Blitz Electric for the electrification project was apparently extended until November 7 last year.
However, Richards, who signed the letter, allegedly has no copy to verify this extension.
This led to aggrieved residents calling for an investigation into his competence. There have also been demands for his removal.
Residents have complained about toilets standing idle on village council premises for more than ten years, perennial electricity problems and a shortage of funds to carry out essential services at the town.
Last week Richards was allegedly called by the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) about the electrification project.
Meanwhile, Blitz Electric has apparently received no notification about the status of the tender.
At a local tender board meeting held on January 20, Richards confirmed he was not sure whether the Hardap Regional Council had informed Blitz Electric that the tender was cancelled.
Dunamis Consultants was appointed in December last year to carry out all new projects at Maltahöhe.
In a letter dated January 20, Dunamis noted that the proposed area for electrification in Blikkiesdorp had not been demarcated properly and the layout for the project could therefore not be finalised.
Dunamis said that determining the layout was essential, as it allows engineers to correctly position electrical services.
“The outlined activities will take approximately three weeks given the size of the area to be serviced,” Dunamis said at the time.
The tender board meeting apparently decided that Blitz Electric be asked to finish the project within seven days, on condition that Richards discusses the matter with Dunamis.
At the time, Blitz was allegedly at the site of the proposed project, where they discovered that the demarcation needed to be redone.
Aggrieved residents argue that if the tender is postponed, a new process would be time consuming, resulting in the funds being sent back to Treasury.
“This will affect the community negatively. It’s an election year and is it not good that people are affected negatively by the administrative red tape,” an aggrieved resident said.

Fred Goeieman Namibian Sun