Bothakga Burrow, MTC slug it out in court
High Court Judge, Zaine Kebonang has avoided making a ruling on technical legal issue in a matter in which Bothakga Burrow is challenging the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Department of Roads’ decision to terminate its consultancy services in the Charleshill-Ncojane road construction.
Bothakga was engaged by government to provide consultancy services to Zac construction which has been awarded a multi million tender to construct road between Charles hill and Ncojane in the Gantsi district in Botswana. Zac Construction was awarded the tender on 26th November 2013 in the tune of P 436 million; to be completed in 36 months (designing and building). Bothakga Burrow Botswana’s contract is worth P40 million.
The main case of termination of contract is currently before Justice Terrence Rannowane who will deliver a judgement on May 25. In the oral arguments in the technical matter concerning the nitty gritties of the contract this week Justice Kebonang insisted that he is constrained to make any ruling which can have a bearing in the matter as parties are eagerly waiting for the main ruling by Justice Rannowane.
“I am trying to establish whether there is a dispute for this one but it is not coming out clearly. Also bear in mind that I cannot make a ground breaking ruling on this case precisely to avoid conflicting or contradicting judgements on my part and from the other Judge,” Kebonang highlighted to parties appearing before him in the matter.
In the legal technical matter, Bothakga Burrow was represented by Moemedi Tafa from Armstrong Attorneys while Olayemi Aganga sat in for the Attorney General. Representatives from Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) being Cindy Motlalepula and Keneilwe Modise did not join them in the prevailing matter.
When listening to the lawyers’ arguments, Justice Kebonang express his worry that government terminated Bothakga burrow’s contract but failed to remove them from contract site saying that they remained at the site means they were trespassing. He also blamed Bothakga Burrow for not interdicting the termination at court while they had the freedom to do so. “So, both of you are wrong,” Justice Kebonang insisted to the parties during deliberations.
He also maintained that: “there cannot be a principal judgement here because there is another Judge doing merits and demerits of the main case.” Speaking to Weekend Post briefly outside court for purposes of background, State attorney Aganga said the case concerned itself with technical legal issues. Aganga pointed out that “it’s a technical issue that involves certain legal terminology in the contract that has been terminated.”
According to Aganga, there were some interpretation issues; and that they viewed certain issues differently from Bothakga Burrow. But during court proceedings, Kebonang stated that what PPADB and government did is already done and no need to say who was right or wrong. Therefore, he wondered what his judgement would change if he releases an order. “I prefer the status quo to remain until the judgement under Justice Rannowane in May,” Kebonang said.
Representing the Attorney General, Aganga has previously asserted that the application by Bothakga Burrow should be dismissed as it doesn’t hold water. In the main case, earlier, Aganga is said to have highlighted that relations between Bothakga Burrow and the contractor, Zac Construction had become bitter to a point that the Ministry of Transport and Communication under Department of Roads elected to terminate Bothakga Burrow’ s consultancy services in the public interest.
He further is reported to have said delays in the work would result in substantial cost overruns which would cost tax payers. As of 16 February 2018 Bothakga Burrow Botswana has dragged the Ministry of Transport and Communications before court accusing it of unlawfully terminating its contract.
Permanent Secretary Kabelo Ebineng terminated BBB’s contract with effect from 16 February 2018 citing convenience on the part of the Employer or procuring entity. But Bothakga is arguing that the Ministry did not follow the correct procedure when terminating the contract and the PPADB agrees with Bothakga.
In January 2017, sixteen months after commencement of construction Zac or Zakhem complains to the Ministry of Transport citing conflict of interest on the part of the consultant, Bothakga Burrow. His views are such that the consultant has not been properly appointed and he threatens to stop taking instructions from the Consultant and requests that Bothakga Burrow be removed from the project. The then permanent secretary, Elias Magosi dismissed Zakhem’s allegations and warned him to abide by the contract which he would have defaulted on the contract.
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Malawi appeals for help over Cyclone Freddy at PAP
As of yesterday evening, the death toll from the Cyclone in Malawi had risen from the initially reported 190 to 225 in a short period of time, over 20 000 people have been displaced, and the worst of fears are yet to come as the fatalities continue to mount. This was reported by a Malawi Member of Parliament attending the Pan African Parliament session in Midrand, South Africa, Hon Steven Mikiya.
Mikiya was giving a statement on behalf of Malawi as the ongoing Pan African Parliament in South Africa.
Mikiya said the Cyclone has wreaked the most havoc in our country’s Southern Region. “The Southern Region, has been hardest hit with widespread heavy rains and strong winds. This caused a rapid rise in water levels and subsequent flooding. Meanwhile, power supply has been disrupted, roads blocked off and rendered impassable and mudslides have also been widely reported,” he said.
He made a special appeal to the PAP: “Where I come from, there is a parable which I would like to share with you which says, “mzako weniweni umamudziwa panthawi ya mavuto.” Simply put, a friend in need is a friend indeed or put loosely, a person who helps at a difficult time is a friend you can rely on.”
Mikiya continued: “Yes! Misfortune has knocked on our door and left in its wake a trail of death and destruction that may take years to fully recover from. However, amidst these difficulties, I have every reason to believe that sometimes when you are in a dark place and think you have been buried, you have actually been planted. My belief, Mr. President, arises out of my faith in this gathering and out of the conviction that it is not coincidental that Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi and Mozambique while the delegations of both countries are here.”
According to Mikiya, the level of destruction, the loss of life, property and the decimation of the entire fabric of established communities has been unprecedented. He noted that all this, is coming at a time when Malawi was starting to show signs of recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that also came hard on the heels of Cyclone Ana and Cyclone Gombe that left a similar trail of devastation and destruction in Malawi and neighbouring countries.
As of Sunday, this week, from the 12th of March, Malawi and Mozambique have been facing the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy that made a landfall over Mozambique on Saturday the 11th and reached Malawi by Sunday the 12th of March.
The Malawi legislator said he has absolute faith in the Pan African Parliament, which he described as “a league of nations brought together by a shared ancestry, history, identity as well as our beloved continent which we inhabit”.
Meanwhile, Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera, has declared a State of Disaster in the affected areas effectively appealing for local and international support for the affected families.
Mikiya appealed to the Pan African Parliament drawing “positive” inspiration from Europe which rallied around Turkey after the destructive earthquakes to bring the much-needed relief and humanitarian aid to the people of Turkey.
He said Africa should demonstrate to the world that the African Union and its Organs are not mere talk shows, but effective institutions which stand up when it matters most.
“Alone, it may take us a lifetime to fully recover, but together, in the Pan-Africanist spirit of Ubuntu, our lives and livelihoods will return to a semblance of normality in record time. This is the time to live by our operative mantra, “One Africa, One Voice.” Mikiya concluded.