The government claims tender advertisements for new signage at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo (JMN) International Airport in Bulawayo were advertised ‘late last week’ and published in the national gazette.
This development comes after the government took down the Ndebele cultural shield from the JMN airport signage without notifying all the stakeholders.
After spirited protests were raised on social media over the ‘troubling’ issue, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Felix Mhona, released a statement saying the ministry regretted the “hasty” removal of the signage.
Mhona also said the ministry had flighted tender advertisements for new signage that incorporated stakeholders’ concerns, adding the government’s Coat of Arms emblem branded on the current signage was temporary.
In an interview with CITE on Friday, Department of Roads Chief Director, Engineer Amos Amos, said the tender advertisements were put out last week.
“I am not quite sure (of the day) but I think they were flighted late last week and they are still open,” he said.
Eng. Amos said the advertisements were placed on the government gazette and the ministry followed the normal Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe procedures, adding it was unfortunate if people did not purchase the gazette.
“Unfortunately, they should go to the government gazette, that’s where we publish all our tenders. If they don’t buy the government gazette, we are not obliged to put in the other local papers. We are mandated to put adverts in the government gazette, which we did,” stated the chief director.
He noted he was not sure how many companies or individuals had expressed interest so far, as the tender advertisement was still open for those who wanted to bid.
“I don’t think the tender closed; we can only be aware when the tender closes. That’s when I will actually know how many responded to that. I’m not quite privy to the tender, sorry. You may need to call the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) or the Airports Company of Zimbabwe (ACZ) as those are the ones who were flighting the tender. They are part of the ministry but it’s particularly being done on their end,” Eng. Amos said.
ACZ Chief Executive Officer, Tawanda Gusha, was not reachable on his mobile phone.
When pressed if the ministry had indeed consulted with the Joshua Nkomo family over these plans, Eng. Amos hinted they did but acknowledged the family had expressed reservations.
In a previous interview with this publication, Sibangilizwe Nkomo, son to the late nationalist leader indicated the government had not consulted them.
Eng. Amos said: “That becomes hearsay (referring to Sibangilizwe Nkomo’s assertions). We couldn’t pull it down because of our own will because we are the ones who put it there. Yes, basically there were reservations from the family then we are trying to address that.”
The chief director added that when the tender advertisement closes, the transport ministry would host a stakeholder consultation, with the Nkomo family included to come up with a new design.
“When people are coming up with whatever designs they are going to do, we are going to consult the family. So right now, we are just procuring a service. When the designs come, we are going to consult the family. There’s no design yet. We are looking for somebody to come up with the design. In coming up with the design, we are going to do a stakeholder consultation and one of the major stakeholders will be the family,” Eng. Amos stressed.