Kazungula bridge 4 months behind schedule – engineer
By Prince Lubanga
AN ENGINEER leading the Kazungula bridge construction says the US$259 million project is four months behind schedule.
And President Edgar Lungu says it is sad that Africa more often looks outside the continent for trade and even political influence.
Meanwhile, Botswana President Seretse Khama Ian Khama says the Kazungula bridge would strengthen the relationship between Zambia and Botswana.
Briefing the two Heads of State at Cresta Mowana Safari Lodge in Kasane on Tuesday, project team leader Kabamelo Kgoboko said the bridge construction funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the EU and African Development Bank (AfDB) which started on December 5, 2014 was expected to be completed on January 29, 2019.
“The temporary bridge has been substantially completed and we are now focused on the permanent bridge…in terms of progress for the construction stage of the bridge (package one), the project is at 25.2 per cent from the planned 31.9 per cent which is four months behind schedule,” Kgoboko said.
He said as for package two which was the construction of the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) on the Botswana side, the project was on schedule at 16.18 per cent and was expected to be completed on September 28, 2019.
Kgoboko cited frequent plant breakdown, delayed acquisition of gravel from the Botswana side and the liquidation of the main
subcontractor, BNG, as some of the challenges affecting the project.
He added that as for package three which involved the construction of the OSBP on the Zambian side, works were expected to start this month and would be completed in August 2019.
Kgoboko further added that the construction of Kazungula bridge by Botswana and Zambia on the Zambezi had so far created about 640 jobs.
“Of the 640 workers 542 have been employed from both Zambia and Botswana while 98 are expatriates. More are to be employed as the project progresses,” said Kgoboko.
President Lungu said the Kazungula Bridge construction was intended to spur investment within and outside Africa.
“Several times, we look beyond Africa in terms of trade, including
political influence,” said President Lungu.
“…we see this (Kazungula Bridge) as a mark of bonding between Botswana and Zambia in terms of trade, economic growth and prosperity of the people.”
President Khama said the project was in line with the SADC emphasis on industrialisation and regional integration.
“The Kazungula bridge project is well positioned in Southern Africa
and we look forward to furthering our cooperation with our two
countries,” said President Khama.