KEETMANSHOOP – Water minister Alpheus !Naruseb said it was only through key negotiation strategies and the unreserved commitment by the line ministry, contractor and engineer that the successful completion of the Neckartal Dam could have been realised.
He made these remarks when officially introducing Vice President Nangolo Mbumba as the keynote speaker at the official inauguration of the dam last weekend in the capital of the //Kharas region.
“We have convened here today to witness this important milestone achievement as a result of the joint efforts between various stakeholders,” !Naruseb reasoned. He went on by stating that the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has been embroiled in a court case before the award of the tender for the construction of the dam. “This resulted in the delayed start of the project for six months,” the minister explained. He continued that the project was then eventually awarded to Salini Impregilo S.p.A. in August 2013, after which construction of the dam kicked off.
According to the politician, another setback hit the project during the construction phase. “The ministry had cash flow problems at that stage and could, therefore, not honour payments due to the contractor as prescribed in the contract,” he explained. !Naruseb continued that the contractor subsequently submitted claims for extension of time to complete the project as a result of delayed payments. “These claims then increased with time, resulting in a total amount of N$2.2 billion,” he elaborated.
!Naruseb then said a competent team comprising of the line ministry, Ministry of Works and Transport and Office of the Attorney General negotiated with the contractor and reached a settlement amount of N$500 million at the end.
!Naruseb, in conclusion, welcomed and introduced the Vice President to the audience present during the official hand over of the dam.
It has been revealed during the hand over that the dam level currently stands at 10.1%, translating to just over 85 million cubic meters of water.