Construction work on Neckartal Dam commences

21 Sep 2013 07:10
NECKARTAL, 21 SEP (NAMPA) – The construction of the Neckartal Dam finally commenced here on Friday.
Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) John Mutorwa officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony of the dam.
In his keynote addresses, Mutorwa said there is now no turning back, because the legal tender documents between the Namibian Government and Italian contractor, Salini S.p.A have already been signed.
“If anyone try to challenge us again regarding the Tender Board decision to award the dam tender, we will face them in court like we did before, but the work will not stop.
It seems some people take advantage of our rule of law to frustrate Government’s progress. Those who will also come with hidden agendas will also be faced legally not violently. Forward ever backward never,” a confident Mutorwa remarked.
The Neckartal Dam will be constructed next to the Fish River in the Snyfontein area of the Berseba Constituency, 70 kilometres north-west of Keetmanshoop.
It will collect water from the Fish River to be used for vast irrigation schemes to ensure food security and employment creation.
The minister also urged employers and employees to respect labour laws, employees’ rights to join trade unions for fairness, democracy, and justice for all, and most importantly, the smooth progress of the project.
He said Government awarded the tender for the dam’s construction and Phase One Bulk Water Supply to Salini at an amount of N.dollars 2.8 billion, and reminded the company “this is a lot of money for an important expensive national project, and Government shall not compromise on demanding quality work and value for money”.
Other politicians who spoke at the ceremony placed great emphasis on the provision of jobs to the residents of the //Karas Region during the construction of the dam.
Although it is a national project open to everyone in the country to be employed, local politicians want people of this region to be placed first when it come to sub-contracting, labour, transport, catering and other services before any other citizens from outside the region are considered.
“We cannot allow our people from this area to merely remain employees. We do not want other people from outside to come and get rich while our people remain poor,” //Karas Governor Bernardus Swartbooi said.
He added that the contractor must be transparent and always be in contact with his office, and if they take subcontractors from outside this region they will not be happy, because the local people’s businesses must prosper.
The governor further said the construction of the dam signals a departure from poverty to wealth.
In the same vein, Swartbooi reminded residents of the region to be fully committed to employment chances they will get, to be hardworking and stay sober while at work.
On his part, Berseba Constituency Councillor Dawid Boois encouraged peace and unity amongst politicians, traditional leaders and the community to ensure the project’s success.
Boois said since the project is in the Snyfontein area, the people of Snyfontein must benefit by getting electricity at the village.
He noted that it was agreed that once the dam construction starts, a power line will be taken from the power station there to Snyfontein, as it is very close and cheap.
“Employers must take social responsibilities and employees’ safety seriously. We also warn people of the region not to quit their permanent jobs for temporary work at the dam,” Boois remarked.
In response, Salini’s Area Manager, Leopoldo Carlesimo promised to employ local people as labourers and sub-contractors for service delivery.
Carlesimo also promised to build a fruitful cooperation with Government for infrastructural development.
“We are here to cooperate for the country’s development. We are also known for utilising local people for service delivery - that is our company’s mutual interest,” he said.
Neckartal Dam project manager, Gawie Steyn of Knight Piesold said the project will employ 500 to 800 people at peak time.
He noted that 10 per cent of the people to be employed will be sourced from the region - a number which Mutorwa said was fair.
“There is a challenge when it comes to employing people as specific skills needed for the project might not be available in the region or country. That will leave us with no option but to seek such skills where it is available,” Steyn said.
Steyn noted that those looking for employment opportunities must approach the Directorate of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in Keetmanshoop, because everything is processed from there.