GOVERNMENT’s directive that all unsolicited bids within local authorities’ jurisdictions should go through a tender system has stalled a number of Bulawayo City Council (BCC) projects, including the $68 million waste-to-energy deal.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Last year, the government instructed all local authorities to ensure that all works within their jurisdiction — be it infrastructural development, service delivery, private public partnerships and joint ventures — go through a tender system rather than private negotiations.
However, the decision has stalled a number of BCC projects, latest council minutes show.
These include the multi-million dollar waste-to-energy deal, which the local authority agreed on with United Kingdom-registered firm, Pragma Leaf Consulting, as well as the phase two of Emhlangeni suburb development, where the council wanted to partner Stelix Civil Engineers and Contractors for the servicing of 541 medium-density
The $68 million waste-to-energy plant is expected to produce 110 000 litres of bio-diesel and 2,2 megawatts of electricity.
At full throttle, an estimated 2 000 jobs would be created for refuse collectors, processors, sorters and some 120 professionals.
The project would convert waste to energy and distil diesel, which council would have first option to purchase at $2 per gallon or 50 cents per litre.
Commenting on the circular, BCC health services director, Zanele Hwalima said it would negatively affect council projects.
“This will stall projects, which are already under discussion between council and project implementers and will have negative impacts on the development of the city. The Pragma Leaf project will be affected by this circular,” she said.
But engineering services director, Simela Dube said the Pragma Leaf deal was different and “we probably need to keep the two organisations separate to avoid issues. Create the refuse removal as an SBU [strategic business unit] to supply the waste to the company.”
“The projects that are affected in my opinion are Stelix-Mhlangeni Phase 2. There is currently a proposal to allocate selected contractors for servicing land of which there was no criteria on how they were selected,” he said.
Acting town clerk, Sikhangele Zhou also advised that it was a general rule that the law did not operate in retrospect.
However, in her view, the question was whether council had struck any deals with the affected companies.
“If the circumstances were such that at the stage of the new law no agreement was reached then any future deals were affected,” she said.