- The project failed to meet the specified designs
- The abattoir was supposed to operate in 2014
- The project was vandalized and turned into a white elephant
- SEPHA Cooperative accuses the government of keeping them in the dark about the project
The report compiled by the Department of Animal Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security on the much anticipated multi-million Serowe-Palapye chicken abattoir, commonly known as SEPHA cooperative society has reportedly recommended for demolishing of the facility due to failed design specifications, The Botswana Gazette has established.
The project was a brainchild of SEPHA Cooperatives and financed under the government program, Livestock Management and Infrastructure Development (LIMID) in 2012 to the tune of P7 159 470.10. While it was earmarked to start its operations in 2014, the project was abandoned because of wrong design specifications, the development that made it difficult to accommodate some of the abattoir machinery.
However, sources at the Ministry of Agriculture this week confided to The Botswana Gazette that a recommendation has been made for the facility to be demolished while investigations are ongoing to find out what led to the wrong design specifications. The recommendation according to the sources was made after realizing that the facility would not operate with its current design.
“A report conducted by the Department of Animal Production in collaboration with the Department of Building and Engineering Services (DBES) has recommended the demolition of the constructed abattoir structure as it did not conform to the specified designs. However, the report is not clear on whether the project will be re-constructed as funds have to be secured. Besides that, the SEPHA Cooperative has to be informed about this decision as the project is their brainchild which they also contributed to its commencement,” sources at the ministry revealed.
The report according to sources was mandated to establish how the project was approved by the engaged DBES team while it did not conform to its design specifications. The SEPHA Project which was situated in Nkau farms along Serowe/Palapye road was started in 2012 and it was supposed to be completed in 2014.
SEPHA Cooperative Vice-Chairperson Kelatlhegile Ramateke was in shock to learn about the impending development.
“The government has long kept us in the dark about this project though it is our brainchild. We do not even know who to approach because those occupying offices keep on distancing themselves from the project. What I can confirm is that the facility was not built according to its roofing specifications. Therefore, it was going to be difficult to operate because of the machinery that did not support the roofing. We would understand if they only recommended the roofing to be changed not demolishing the whole structure,” Ramateke told this publication in an interview.
Ramateke said that the government’s silence on the project has been questionable. “This project could have long operated in 2014, but we detected the wrong design specifications. Since then, we have never been updated about the progress of the project. Mind you we contributed P10 000 each for the project and the government took over. The project was then turned into a turnkey. Surprisingly, the project was abandoned after we found out about the wrong design specifications. The facility has been vandalized and turned into a white elephant. We do not even know what is going to happen going forward,” added Ramateke.
Reached for comment Chief Scientific Officer, Department of Animal Production and Husbandry Services, Letsomo Mariri declined to comment insisting that his superiors are better placed to answer. However, at the time of going to press Deputy Director in the same department, Thomas Tadubana could not be reached as he was said to be engaged in meetings.