South African construction and engineering company Khato Civils on Friday unveiled its official headquarters, located in Samrand, Gauteng.
Speaking at the launch, Khato Civils chairperson Simbi Phiri noted that the company has expanded its operations to Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Namibia and aims to have 80% of its business operations on the continent.
“We are currently finalising the construction of our offices in Botswana and Malawi, which will start next year,” he said, adding that the company’s number of full time employees has increased significantly and that the company sees its employees as valuable assets.
Phiri noted that the company’s flagship project, in Giyani, Limpopo, has employed over 1 200 people from surrounding villages.
“The progress made on our current project in Giyani demonstrates that we have the capability to implement complex projects under difficult conditions.”
He added that the coming year would be challenging, pointing out that the company has experienced what he called a “litany of smear campaigns” in South Africa, Botswana and Malawi.
Khato Civils recently had eight of its bank accounts in Botswana frozen. Phiri told Engineerng News in October that this was owing to rivals trying to push the company out of Botswana and remove it from competing in bids for a key strategic water project.
During a recent severe drought that led to drastic water shortages in Gaborone, government opened a tender for a water pipeline from Mahalapye to Gaborone to increase the volume of water available to the capital city.
Khato Civils submitted its tender, in which it claimed it could build the pipeline within 18 months.
Phiri claimed that competitor tenders set out far longer construction timelines and that they were riled by the Khato Civils bid. He alleged that competitors then lodged complaints with Botswana’s Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).
Despite the setbacks, Khato Civils remains interested in Botswana as a market and has registered a Botswana division.
“We registered the company, but to actually operate you need to register with the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) of Botswana.”
Following delays, Phiri says Khato Civils has managed to secure PPADB registration.
The company plans to build on its existing investment into Botswana’s construction industry, with the building of new offices, warehouses and workshops. Although the North–South Carrier project has subsequently been cancelled, Phiri says he is keen to look at other projects and will await any new North–South Carrier projects.