Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel has lamented the lack of qualified personnel to take up employment at the hotel during its massive renovation project.
The hotel has closed its doors to the public as it undergoes a major facelift.
The Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) subsidiary was last mired in controversy after the Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) accused the hotel management of recruiting labour from Harare at the expense of locals.
However, the hotel has since dismissed the allegations.
On Tuesday, the hotel embarked on a recruitment exercise to hire skilled personnel to work during the renovation period.
The hotel general manager Innocent Kufa expressed disappointment at the scarcity of skilled personnel from those who had turned up.
“There were almost 70 people who came and applied this morning. Out of these, only one person had a plumbing qualification and only three were qualified tilers. The Hotel wanted seventy tilers,” said Kufa.
He said even at the contracting level, there were no companies who had the required expertise.
“There is no single contractor in Bulawayo who has done a three storey building over the past 20 years. We looked but couldn’t find one.”
“We ended up giving the tender to a Bulawayo based person who owns Creative Concepts who then subcontracted other companies. We agreed with the contractor that we will buy raw materials from South Africa. However, materials that were available locally were purchased here in Bulawayo.”
“For example for tiling, we hired Bath and Tiles, a company from Bulawayo,” explained Kufa.
He said all the companies involved were recommended by Creative Concepts because it was the main contractor.
Kufa said for waterproofing, they had to contract a Harare based company as there was no company in Bulawayo that had the required expertise.
“For waterproofing, we gave the tender to a Khumalo who is based in Harare because there was no-one in Bulawayo recommendable to do the job.”
He said the company doing plumbing is a South African one which has an agency in Harare.
“For plumbing, the South African company had their agency in Harare so they told us to engage with their Harare offices.”
“This is the same company that is hiring these people. They took thirteen local artisans.”
He said they brought in their own seven core team members from Harare, whom he said people alleged were bused.
“No-one was bused from Harare. These seven people came by Extra City, there were only seven, no-one was bused,” said Kufa.
He further highlighted those local contractors who bidded for the project charged unreasonable prices compared to their counterparts in Harare.
“For this particular project we engaged local contractors but some had unreasonable charges. A Harare company charged us $240 000 whilst a Bulawayo one charged USD $1,4 million. The Bulawayo person was operating from his house and had no capacity to do the job,” explained Kufa.
He said they had Bulawayo at heart and when employing, his first preference would be a resident from Bulawayo.
On recruitment, Kufa said 20 people who submitted their CVs today will commence work tomorrow.
“Today (Tuesday) we are taking twenty people to start tomorrow. As we move on, because there would be more work, we will take an additional twenty to thirty people. As we go towards cleaning, we will take some more people,”