Beitbridge municipality frets over defaulting contractors

Beitbridge Municipality has bemoaned the failure by some developers to complete projects on time a situation which has affected service delivery.

The border town was awarded a municipal status in 2018 due to its phenomenal growth and strategic economic location.

Speaking to CITE  on Wednesday, Beitbridge Town Clerk, Loud Ramakgapola revealed that the local authority still has outstanding projects which date back to 2016.

“We have projects that are unfinished, we have projects that we started some of them around 2016, 2017 and those projects are still unfinished because perhaps contractors just tell you that the economy is not doing well, maybe when things stabilize, we will come back,” said Ramakgapola.

“We have contracts that are not fulfilled, we have, for example, early this year we awarded a company to do our rank, to modernise our rank, which is the second time we are doing it, we did it in 2018 and we are doing it now.

“That company was supposed to start in April but they did not start; they then gave us a deadline to say they will start in June and we are currently talking to them that they haven’t started. We may need to terminate the contract,” he said.

Ramakgapola also revealed that they also have challenges with earth moving equipment to carry out certain projects.

 “I think the other problem could be just capacity perhaps in terms of equipment, as a municipality compared to other municipalities, we do not have proper yellow equipment, there are works which we can carry out on our own.

“I was looking at the rank project, on our own we may carry that project. We have engineers, technicians, what we only need is equipment which unfortunately we do not have and we are working on getting that,” he said.

The Town Clerk said the hyper inflationary environment was affecting their capital projects.

“The procurement regulatory Act that we currently have, it’s a very good act. I have looked at other Acts in other countries but unfortunately in an economy like ours, where things are changing too quickly, it doesn’t fit for example if you award a contract you must wait for 14 days so the other people who have tendered can bring in objections,” he said.

“But in an environment like this, 14 days is a lifetime, the economy would have changed, the value of the Zimbabwean dollar would have changed many times, so that has been a challenge for us.

“If we award someone and immediately allow that person to start working for me it is better because the time the person starts working in those 14 days he will tell you that when they tendered the dollar was at so much, then they want a review, then you start again on the review because the procurement act says you may not change the contract.

“We have tried to engage the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) but they say the law is made by Parliamentarians not us, we are only administering the act, and that for me has been a challenge,” he said.

He also welcomed government`s decision to allow dual pricing saying it will afford them an opportunity to complete some of the outstanding projects.

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