Harare City Council has maintained its deal with Easipark, a South African firm, is above board and has blasted all those opposing the deal as “ignorant of the reality on the ground”.
Among those opposing the joint venture are the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) and a few councillors who felt their colleagues and a few council officials were benefiting.
The organisation came out guns blazing against the council for partnering a foreign firm saying the move was against the spirit of empowerment.
AAG president Supa Mandiwanzira recently wrote a letter to council objecting to the deal and describing it as a far cry from the expectations of the local business community.
Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda, however, said the Easipark deal was important for the city and took a swipe at those opposing the deal.
“I got a letter from the Affirmative Action Group opposing the deal with Easipark. But where were they when the city needed them?” quipped Masunda.
“We have set up a date with councillors so that they see the significance of the deal in hand and appreciate its importance to the city.”
The deal has raised eyebrows among councillors, who are questioning the logic of engaging foreigners in council projects.
Most councillors suspect senior council officials and a few councillors might be part of scandalous deals to award contracts to foreign firms.
Last week, city councillors had a heated debate over the deal with some councillors opposing the deal saying it was “shrouded in controversy”.
NewsDay has learnt that the South African firm in the Easipark deal got the deal without going to tender, but instead it was a group of councillors from the business committee who travelled to that country to seal the deal.
The revenue collected by the city in the deal is unknown to the councillors. Chairperson of the business committee, Wellington Chikombo, refused to shed light on the issue over the weekend.
Chikombo instead attacked fellow councillors opposing the deal saying they were “ignorant of the reality on the ground”.
“We decided to choose a South African company because people in the country are not competent and there was no need for us to go to tender,” he said.
“No one is more competent than Easipark. The parkades in the city lay idle for 10 years, now this is the time to revitalise by way of CCTVs and other things so the argument by fellow councillors must be dismissed,” he said.
According to the Easipark deal, the city is supposed to get 60% of the revenue collected while Easipark gets 40%.