Bring lawsuit on, says government

Bring lawsuit on, says government

MASERU – AN architectural firm that supervised the construction of the Royal Palace is demanding M17 million from the government for unpaid services.
Makeka Design Lab, a Cape Town-based company, says the government should pay up or face a lawsuit. The company is owned by Mokena Makeka, a Mosotho architect.

Makeka’s company took over the project in 2015 after Palace Architect was kicked out following a fight with the Building Design Services (BDS), a government department in charge of the Royal Palace project.
The project has overshot its budget by nearly M350 million and is now seven years behind schedule.
Makeka Design Lab pulled out of the project mid-2018 after its relations with the Ministry of Public Works and the BDS soured. The company complained about delayed payments and questionable decisions by “stakeholders”. Now two years later it is demanding M17 million.

This week Makeka said he had no comment to the list of questions sent by thepost.
Public Works’ principal secretary, Mothabathe Hlalele, confirmed receiving Makeka’s letter of demand but said he did not recall its exact details.
Hlalele however said the ministry is contemplating a lawsuit against Makeka and his company. He said the government doesn’t believe it owes anything to Makeka.
“Instead it is him that owes us because we incurred a lot of costs because of his unprofessional behaviour. Were it not for his misconduct we would not have paid those unnecessary costs,” Hlalele said.

Makeka failed as the principal architect on the project, he said.
“The decisions you make as the principal architect have cost implications on the project. If your delay to provide information the project delays and in construction any delay makes the project expensive.”
Hlalele said it is curious that Makeka is demanding more money when he has failed to provide information on work he claims to have completed and approved.

“I suspect he is writing the letter because he wants to scare us from asking for our information. That information is not his. It belongs to the government as the owner of the project.”
“I can assure you that he is not going to get any cent from the government. If he sues we will counter sue him.”
He said Makeka must be warned that the “battle lines have been drawn and the government is ready to face him head-on”.

“We want to use him as a lesson of what will happen if you play games with a government project. He must be warned that this is a battle we are ready to fight to the bitter end. We are ready for him.”
“I am telling him to bring it on.”

Shakeman Mugari


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