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State House spends K1m per year on its maintenance – Parliamentary CommitteeBy Sipilisiwe Ncube on 11 Jul 2017
A report by the Parliamentary Committee on Communication, Transport, Works and Supply has revealed that State House spends K1 million per year on its maintenance, hence the recommendation for the construction of a new modern structure.
According to the report submitted to the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development through parliament, during the first session of the twelfth national assembly, the Committee Chaired by Chikankata UPND Member of Parliament Douglas Syakalima toured State House and noted that “the foundation of the current building was weak, and the wood holding up the ceiling had been eaten up by termites”, further saying that the whole building was leaking.
“Apart from being old and damaged, the building was small and not able to fully cater for various State functions. The State House lacked a conference room and banquet halls, forcing the Government to incur high costs for hire of these facilities. The building had undergone several piece meal maintenance procedures. Unfortunately these procedures had not improved the situation. State House had to spend a total K1 million annually in maintenance,” the report read in part.
The Committee further observed that there was a separation of some columns in the cabinet room leading to several cracks on several supporting walls which had increased overtime.
“There is a failure of foundation supports. The walls have begun to crack due to the old age of the structure. The roof leaks despite various remedies that had been implemented. The heavy leaking has led to fungal growth of the wall of some rooms and these rooms can no longer be used. The electrical systems in parts of the building are not functioning. There are constant blockages in the sewer system. The structural timber is heavily damaged due to termite attacks and seeping water from the leaking roof,” further read the report.
“The building is overloaded-above its carrying capacity. Certain rooms are being used for other purposes other than what they are designed for. The dining hall is used for public functions causing further strain on the structure. Private engineers had been contracted to carry out a thorough assessment of the situation. However there report was incomplete as they did not have access to some rooms. The State House is a health and safety risk to the end users. The situation as State House is dangerous and it requires urgent attention.”
The committee however recommended that land should be found for the modern, more spacious and safe building house for the Head of State.
“Engineers should be allowed to have access to State House, in order to carry out a full assessment. The assessment will guide whether the building should be brought down, or kept as a national monument, with very limited usage. The Ministry of Works and Supply should ensure that the process for funding of the project is transparent and approved by the National Assembly,” recommended the Committee.
About Sipilisiwe Ncube
Sipilisiwe Ncube is a Zambian journalist with a background in radio news.
Email: sipilisiwe [at] diggers [dot] news
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