The country’s consumer watchdog, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) has questioned the quality of work being done on some of the roads being constructed by Roads Authority (RA) and those being upgraded by Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in all four cities of the country.
Concerns have been raised on poor standards of the upgraded roads under the City Roads Upgrading Programmein the cities of Mzuzu, Lilongwe, Zomba and Blantyre as well as laxity by contractors hired by RA to rehabilitate some of the main roads in the said cities.
“As consumers we have concerns over the quality of the work done on the rehabilitated and upgraded roads. A lot of money is being spent on these roads and it is our responsibility to start demanding and questioning how the tax-payers’ money is being used,” queried Cama’s Executive Director, John Kapito.
Kapito was speaking to the media on Tuesday during a tour his institution had with the media across Blantyre city to appreciate the quality of the work but also the standard of the constructed and rehabilitated roads.
It was noted during the tour that despite the authorities spending a lot of money on the construction and rehabilitation projects, the quality of the work is not up to the desired level which some of the contractors attributed to financial constraints.
It was also observed that some of the roads do not have drainage system in place or have poorly constructed water ways aside from pedestrian pavements.
Kapito said Malawians expected good quality roads considering that most of the contractors were sourced locally.
“Contracts for these roads were given to local and international contractors and we expected to have better delivery. We expected good and standards roads. Surprisingly contractors are taking long to complete simple roads; Roads are being closed for months affecting commuters in the end.
“The quality of the roads is questionable. We are being heavily taxed therefore there must be a better return for our money. We are happy that contracts are being given to local contractors, but the quality of work is deplorable. Some of these contractors are questionable, they don’t have experience in roads construction,” he added.
Kapito has since urged consumers across the country to start interrogating and demand for answers on workmanship being done on the constructed and upgraded roads.
“Malawians are spending more time on the roads and more money on repairs for their vehicles due to poor state of the upgraded and constructed roads. The authorities believe that we (Malawians) are so stupid. I agree with the idea that we are stupid but don’t go too far with our stupidity. We need to learn from foreign contractors. We are not saying we should not hire local entrepreneurs, but we need quality work from them.”
The issue of poor quality workmanship and substandard roads was once raised by the Local Government and Rural Development in a memo dated April 24th, 2017 (Ref. LG/RD/1/2) and signed by the secretary for the ministry, Kiswell Dakamau.
In the memo which Nyasa Times sourced, the ministry accused some of the hired contractors of using poor quality and cheap materials in upgrading the contracted roads, thereby compromising the standards.
Lilongwe City Council Chief Executive Officer, Moza Zeleza was recently put on suspension for gross negligence of duty in accordance with the frameworks governing his work following substandard work done on some of the upgraded roads in the city.
Meanwhile, rehabilitation works on the SOBO-HHI Road have finished and the road has been opened for public use on Tuesday afternoon.
However, instead of rehabilitating 2 kilometers, the contractor Top Range Civil Engineering has just done 920 metres which according to the company’s supervisor, Lloyd Msosa it was due to financial constraints on the part of RA.
“Instead of the agreed two layers, we have done seven layers and this has forced our client to cut back the distance inorder for the money to meet the cost of the work we have so far done,” explained Msosa.
The rehabilitation works were to be done from HHI to Blantyre Water Board (BWB) junction, but instead will end at SOBO. It has taken the contractor seven months instead of the agreed six to finish the work on the road, attracting concerns from users especially companies situating within Makata industrial area.
But Msosa has assured the users of its quality, saying “with the materials used and the efforts we have put on this road, you can be assured of best quality.”
And construction works on part of Churchill Road in Limbe, Blantyre have not resumed despite RA promises that it was in the process of finding another contractor to work on the road.
The contract for the construction of the 650-metre stretch from Illovo Roundabout in Limbe to Midima Roundabout was initially given to Fargo Limited with a contract period of three months.
But the project took more than eight months and only one carriage way was completed and is being used. The contractor, Fargo Limited, decamped from the site months ago and works on the ground stopped ever since.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :