‘Residents blast Zinara over road contracts’
BULAWAYO city councillors revealed that residents are angry over Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara)’s outsourcing of contractors at the expense of local companies in road maintenance and rehabilitation projects.The rehabilitation of roads was intensified in the run up to the official opening of a Community Media Communication Centre and the Zanu PF Presidential Youth Interface rally addressed by President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace on Saturday.
The roads were also resurfaced when Namibian President Hage Geingob officially opened the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair early this year.
According to the latest full council minutes, the road works which were pegged at an estimated cost of $3 million for a 20km road network, were done by companies outside Bulawayo.
The latest full council minutes indicated that ward 1 councillor, Mlandu Ncube expressed concern over Zinara’s decision to shun local companies in the awarding of the contracts, arguing project costs would have been reduced.
“Does this mean that Bulawayo companies were not able to do the work,” Ncube queried. He said local companies were being marginalised and the council should craft a policy to protect them.
“Zinara should be advised that the local community was concerned about outside companies getting jobs at the expense of the local (ones),” the latest council minutes read.
“Bulawayo companies should also be allowed to grow and develop and, in the process, provide jobs for local residents.”
City chamber secretary, Sikhangele Zhou who shared the same sentiments, said there was need for policies that will favour locals.
“There is need to craft policy on procurement as there was no policy in place to favour locals. Tenders were competitive and, therefore, companies attending to the roads were employed by the state not Council,” part of the minutes also read.
She said there was need for local companies to be educated on tender procedures and requirements for them to comply with tender procedures.
“Tenders were competitive and, therefore, awarded to those who complied with the relevant conditions. Some locals failed to meet some specifications and requirements and, therefore, were not successful.”
Bulawayo, like any other city in the country, was grappling with company closures, high unemployment and capital flight.
BY TALENT GUMPO- Newsday Zimbabwe