Three firms win M2.8 million tender

Three firms win M2.8 million tender

MASERU – THREE companies have been selectively awarded a M2.8 million tender to refurbish a VIP lounge at Moshoeshoe I International Airport, thepost can reveal. Although the narrative is that these are Chinese-owned companies, the evidence from ythe Company Registry shows that this is not correct. JIANG & Mt Engineering (PTY) Ltd trading as J & MT Construction Engineering has a Chinese as a minority shareholder while Debris (Pty) Ltd is locally owned.

A Chinese owns a majority stake in Chu Ye (Pty). The department of Building Design Service (BDS), under the Ministry of Public Works, awarded the tender to the three companies through a selective tendering process.
This is according to a document seen by this paper.

But some local businessmen are still fuming alleging these are Chinese-owned companies.
“We have been fighting for this for over time now but we seem to be fighting a losing battle,” Stephen Khoele of Phaks Electrical and Constructions said.

He said the refurbishment of the lounges falls within their expertise as local companies.
Khoele argued they are capable of doing the job as it does not need that high degree of expertise that they do not have.
He said the government has not been supportive enough to local companies.
“We are not given jobs even if we are capable of doing them,” Khoele said.

Likabiso Khoaele, of Moralla Holdings, also expressed similar sentiments.
But she mentioned that if the selective tendering has been done based on the magnitude of the project, it was wise for the BDS to look at the company that has experience.
She said when selective tendering is made the technical and capacity of the company, are usually taken into consideration.
“If this is the case, there is no problem,” Khoaele said.
She said it would be bad if there are local companies that have the skills to carry out the refurbishment of the airport but have not been considered for the job.

However, her concern was that the Chinese do not usually sub-contract local companies when they have been awarded tenders.
Khoaele said it would be better if the Chinese companies could at least embark on joint ventures with local ones.
The Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport Mothabathe Hlalele told thepost last night that his ministry is under pressure to accomplish the refurbishment project hence the selective tendering.

He said if they were not under pressure, they would go through open tender that usually takes long time.
Hlalele said the country is going to hold a big cancer summit in July where important people such as retired presidents will be in Lesotho.
He said they have selected companies which are competent and have vast experience in the construction process.
“We are now heading towards June and by end of June we should be done,” Hlalele said.
He said this project is not that big as it only costs M2.8 million.

And he stressed that the Chinese usually have a track record of working within specified times.
He said this is an emergency and was not budgeted for.
Hlalele appealed to local companies not to be Sino-phobic as they are always given jobs where they qualify.
The memorandum from the BDS said the three selected companies are capable of undertaking the job and are currently not doing any projects for the government of Lesotho.

This, it said, would give them sufficient time to focus and complete the project timeously.
Hlalele said the refurbishment of the lounges is about the image of the country.
He maintained that they want to promote Basotho companies at all costs.

Majara Molupe

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