By Centre News Reporter
City of Masvingo which is battling recurrent sewer reticulation problems has accepted failure to upgrade the system following numerous attempts to complete the Mucheke Trunk Sewer project which has been stagnant for over 10 years.
Speaking at a Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) engagement meeting with journalists and residents held last Thursday, City of Masvingo Deputy Mayor, Daniel Mberikunashe said the project has been a failure and council once tried to take over but also failed to make any meaningful progress.
“We hired a company which failed to do justice to the project. After they failed, we as council took over the project led by our own engineers but we also failed,” said Mberikunashe.
Mberikunashe was responding to questions on why the project has taken many years to be budgeted for but nothing improving on the ground.
The project is also on the proposed 2024 budget.
Commenting on the issue, Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance (MURRA) spokesperson, Godfrey Mtimba questioned the local authority’s tendering process saying corruption was taking its toll at the townhouse.
“They gave a tender to a seemingly bogus company and the tendering process was done hastily and it wasn’t clear. This leaves a lot of questions unanswered and shows that there was some corruption. They are playing games with service delivery and the city is struggling to cope with sewer reticulation issues,” said Mtimba.
A tender to undertake the project was awarded to Mutual Construction (Pvt) Limited a Harare-based company.
The local authority acquired a US$ 2 million loan from the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) towards the project but only trenches were dug before the project stalled as the contractor claimed that limited resources had been allocated to the project hence they couldn’t continue.
However, the council tried to take over but dismally failed and also abandoned the project.
Trenches have closed in some areas due to lack of attention while pipes are still piled at the Chitima Fruit and Vegetable Market.
The council is now banking on revenue collection and its devolution allocation from the central government to finish the project.
When completed, Mucheke Trunk Sewer is expected to incorporate the sprawling Victoria Ranch suburb which has no sewerage system over 10 years after being commissioned.
Zanu PF land barons in the area continue to play hide and seek when it comes to service delivery and the suburb is also facing acute water shortages and no refuse collection.