Francistown Stadium ready in three weeks

FRANCISTOWN: As the completion date for the new Francistown Stadium approaches, the company engaged to for the alteration and refurbishment of the multi-million pula facility has requested for 35 days for it’s completion.

The long awaited stadium was expected to be completed in 2010 ahead of the first African held FIFA World Cup tournament. Failure to meet several set deadlines by the engaged Tuwana Construction Company prompted the government to terminate the contract in 2013.

Following the Tuwana contract termination, the government awarded the P90 million tender to China Jiangsun International Contractors to rectify the defects made by the initial contractor. Consequently the refurbishments and alterations of the stadium commenced in June last year, the stadium was expected to be handed to Government on June 8 this year.

However, only a week before the handing over of the facility the engaged contractor has requested a 35 day extension for the overall completion. Last week during the stadium tour by the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng, Project Manager James Tasethabi revealed that despite the facility being close to completion they have requested an extension as there are still some ongoing finishing touches to be attended.

Tasethabi stated that the main construction which includes stands, the turf, electrification, re-alignment, upholstering and fitting of seats are completed. “So far the stadium is 90 percent complete and will soon be handed over come July. We have requested for an extension period, we are optimistic that the facility will be ready in three weeks time,” Tasethabi said.

The Project Manager added that the festive period affected the scheduled completion date. With regard to delay in the completion of the 27 000 seater stadium, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Science, Infrastructure and Technology Dikagiso Mokotedi pointed ‘an accusing finger’ at the consultants of the initial contractor.

“In many occasions the government overlooks its consultants over private ones because we assume that they are qualified while it is not always the case. So the Government consultants and engineers have proved that they have capabilities of handling mega projects because when they came to site this facility it was in a messy state. I am delighted because the long awaited stadium is now complete,” said the delighted Mokotedi.