Simbi lambasts shoddy road conditions on corrupt inspectorate officials

Multi-billionaire and South Africa-based civil engineering giant Simbi Phiri has attributed the abysmal nature of the country’s public roads to corruption as well as inefficiencies in rigorous inspection on the part of officials.

In an interview with ZBS’ Cruise5 by host Joab Frank Chakhaza on Wednesday, which Nyasa Times monitored, the construction mogul said it was appalling that some roads developed cracks within two years of construction.

The genius Chairman of Khato Civils Mr Simbi Phiri

A case in question is the 45.6-kilometre Karonga roundabout-Songwe Border Road which already had numerous potholes before it was even officially opened by former President Peter Mutharika in 2018.

“It is disturbing to see international construction companies building durable infrastructure in their countries but constructing less durable infrastructure in Malawi.

“This clearly shows that governments in the other jurisdictions are stricter than Malawi’s authorities,” Phiri said.

According to Phiri, in business one must they are constructing a road that will last fifty-years without a pothole.

Shoddy job: A China Railways newly constructed bridge in Nsanje damaged by water force

“In that case, you need to design propel compaction levels. Different materials that must be brought from somewhere to be put on that particular stretch of road and compact heavily and then put a thickness of at least 35 to 45 mils if you are going [to have a road that is] to last 65 years.

“And this must be inspected by machines that are there. You go in and you put it and you press and you can tell. So, the inspectorate of our roads is all corrupt.

“Because you can’t have these companies build roads and the next thing, two years later, you have potholes everywhere. There is no road that I can build that can be potholed in two years,” Phiri said, adding that it costs about US$1 million to build a kilometre of a standard road today.

But Roads Authority chairperson Joe Ching’ani said the Authority only an implementing agency and that it outsources supervision services.

“What Mr Simbi Phiri factually stated was that those who are engaged as consultants or professionals to supervise road contracts can do better than giving Malawians a raw deal. And I agree unreservedly to those observations.

“This is in tandem with my statement, which I delivered during the launch of the six lanes Kenyatta Road on August 31 2021. Mr Simbi Phiri is right.

Fortunately, his observations are exactly what the current RA Board is working hard to address,” Ching’ani is quoted as saying in the press.

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