By Tikondane Vega
Thyolo, May 1, Mana: Minister of Transport and Public Works, Ralph Jooma says the construction of the much-awaited 20,000 seat capacity Thyolo Stadium will be finished by August this year.
Jooma said this recently when he inspected the stadium to appreciate how the construction work is going on amid Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic which continues to disrupt some other projects due to its preventive measures.
He said he is satisfied with the construction progress, adding that the contractor has assured government that it has enough resources to do the job because it acquires some of it locally.
“I came to inspect the construction of Thyolo Stadium for three reasons; firstly, I wanted to see if Covid-19 preventive measures are being followed since all places that are not following these measures need to be closed.
“Secondly, I came to check whether due to effects of Covid 19 the contractor has downsized workers and appreciate their style of working whether they are doing shifts.
“Thirdly, I wanted to see if they are experiencing supply chain disruption because some contractors usually buy materials in countries such as South Africa and China where there is lockdown,” he said.
“And if that is the case, then it can affect the completion of the stadium but so far, so good and I am happy with the progress such that all things being equal the stadium should be ready by August 2020,” Jooma added.
Jooma observed that DEC Contractor has all the necessary materials in stock and that people were observing social distance due to adequate space in the stadium.
Projects Manager for DEC Construction, Ellard Malonda said to meet the deadline, the company is planning to work during day and night and the process of installing flood lights has started.
Malonda said much as Covid-19 has brought many challenges, the company will do its best to have the project delivered by August.
“When the news of Coronavirus came in everybody was disturbed and we could not know what to do but with preventive measures in place.
We managed to pull up our efforts and now we are working according to the recommended standards,” Malonda said.
“We are now in the second phase. The first phase was construction of prison houses.
As you may be aware, the place where the stadium is being constructed had prison staff houses and I am happy to say that we finished constructing all the houses on the new allocated place,” Malonda added.
Malonda has since assured government that with the steps that the construction company has taken, the August deadline is likely to be fulfilled although the company downsized its staff from 50 to 40.