BY STAFF REPORTER
Bulawayo City Council has revealed that the Epping Forest water project is now 88% complete, contrary to recent reports that the contractor had downed tools over non-payment.
Two weeks ago, town clerk Christopher Dube said council had exhausted the US$33 million received from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for various projects, a move that had forced work on the Epping Forest water project to stall after contractors pulled out over non-payment.
He was responding to questions sent to him by the Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) on how council had used money under the AfDB scheme.
Dube said in 2019, $4,5 million was utilised towards repairing of electric conductors, purchasing of pumps for the Aisleby 2 Wastewater Treatment Plant, Electric Motors rewinding and rehabilitation of the Matshobana outfall sewers.
However, council spokesperson Nesisa Mpofu yesterday dismissed the claims that the Epping Forest project had stalled over non-payment, saying there was a mix-up of details regarding the ADBF project and Epping Forest water project.
“We note that there is a mix-up in the issue of the ADBF (Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Projects (BWSSIP) project and the Epping Forest.
“We wish to point out that the Epping Forest was never included in the BWSSIP scope of works,” Mpofu said.
“The BWSSIP funds being exhausted — is not factual as the project is still ongoing and has contracts that are yet to be finalised. The city did recently indicate that the project is 88% complete with a number of contracts now completed and handed over to the city (January 13, 2021).”
“While the Epping Forest is not under the jurisdiction of the City of Bulawayo but Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa), we are aware that the project work was restarted in 2020.”
Mpofu said the project is still on-going.
BCC had committed over US$5 million towards the project, of which 85% of the work has been done.
The Epping Forestry water project is anticipated to ease the perennial water problems that have dogged the country’s second largest city. Last year, the city was subjected to strict water rationing after three supply dams were decommissioned due to deteriorating water levels.