The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) has written to its local council demanding details and background on the three local contractors who have been awarded lucrative tenders to develop residential stands in the city.

According to latest council minutes, the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has awarded three local contractors, Heavenview Properties, Veluntina Investments and Cabinlock Construction tenders to develop 2 400 housing stands in Emganwini suburb.

The three contractors are expected to develop the stands before selling them to prospective home owners.

However, the BPRA has written to the BCC town clerk, Christopher Dube seeking clarification on the criteria used to award the tenders to the three companies.

As a stakeholder in the urban governance of the city, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association requests for the following information on the identity of the above companies: Who are the individuals behind these companies? What is their track record? Which other projects of a similar nature have they completed? Who else had applied and what criteria was used in selecting these particular ones?” wrote BPRA national coordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu to Dube.

The residents’ association also demanded to be furnished with the companies’ assets as well as measures which council has put in place to ensure that terms and conditions of the contracts are adhered to.

It is the submission of BPRA that although most of the processes to do with selecting these contractors takes place inside council boardrooms, there is, however, need for residents’ involvement and strengthened oversight mechanisms, checks and balances from bidding, contract designing, implementation to monitoring, especially when designing contracts worth millions of ratepayers’ money with private agents,” the letter further reads.

Answering the above questions shall provide residents with important information on the plans that BCC has put into place to avert a scenario of contractors abandoning projects midstream such as that of Magwegwe Extension and Egodini Mall development.”

Bulawayo councillors have been pushing for the termination of Egodini Mall contract after Terracotta Trading, which was awarded the US$60 million tender in 2016 for the redevelopment of the Basch Street terminus popularly known as Egodini under a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) facility, failed to meet its contractual obligations.

The project is still yet to take off up to now.

This information will also go a long way in assisting BPRA to perform its watchdog role and maximise on the benefits of private contracting and guarding against instances of agent opportunism and awarding of tenders to non-existent or briefcase companies that are owned by proxies,” demanded Ndlovu in his letter.

Credit: New Zimbabwe

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