Harare council, Geo-Pomona Geogenix find common ground

Geogenix BV was awarded the US$316 million project by the government in 2021, which will see HCC paying US$22 000 per day for waste management.

GEO-POMONA Geogenix BV chief executive Delish Nguwaya says they have smoked the peace pipe with the Harare City Council (HCC), which will culminate in the two working together on the Geo Pomona Waste Management project.

Geogenix BV was awarded the US$316 million project by the government in 2021, which will see HCC paying US$22 000 per day for waste management. However, the council refused to pay, calling for the reversal of the deal because it felt it was corruptly structured.

The 30-year waste management deal between the Netherlands-based Geogenix BV, fronted by Nguwaya, seeks to transform the dumpsite into a modern garbage recycling plant that will supply power from methane generated from rotting waste.

The consummation of the project has been subjected to criticism from the city council top brass.

Senior officials from the council attended the ground-breaking ceremony of the project officiated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa this week, with Harare Mayor Ian Makone describing the project as ‘impressive’.

In an interview with the Independent, Nguwaya said they were working together with the City of Harare.

“I am happy to share that we are working hand in hand with the Harare City Council, and we hold monthly meetings to appraise each other of progress. The Harare City Council collects waste, and we, as Geo  Pomona Waste Management, manage the waste,” Nguwaya said.

He said there were plans to construct recreational areas, like restaurants, as well as basketball and tennis courts.

“Yes, plans are underway to construct a restaurant at the site. The area does not pose any health risks as it did before Geo Pomona Waste Management (came in).. We have covered all existing waste with geomembrane and geotextile, plus soil layers,” Nguwaya said.

“In addition, we are planning on constructing landfills for waste, which will be constructed far away from the restaurant.

“We have a compliance manager and safety and health officers as part of our team. Their roles are to ensure that we are compliant and have all the necessary licences, while the employees that will be employed at the restaurant will hold food handlers’ licences among other licences.”

Nguwaya said plans were at an advanced stage to have two tennis courts, two basketball courts, a soccer field, changing rooms, and a restaurant in the recreational area.

"As we speak, beams for the soccer field, tennis courts, and basketball courts are done, as well as basements for the basketball and tennis courts. We are on track and within our set timelines,” he said.

The project, according to Nguwaya, will employ 216 people at Geo Pomona Waste Management Pvt Limited.

He said some of the employees were previously living off the dumpsite at Pomona.

“We have managed to employ some of the people who were living at the dumpsite,” Nguwaya said.

Addressing delegates at the launch, Makone said they wrote to the government raising certain issues about the project. However, he did not highlight what the concerns were.

“As regards the project at Pomona, the previous council made certain observations, which were communicated to the then Minister of Local Government and Public Works,” he said.  

“We have recently written to the new Minister of Local Government and Public Works and it is my prayer that the issues raised, not only by council but several stakeholders, may be addressed.”

Meanwhile, HCC is expediting plans to complete its US$5 million Chlorine Dioxide Project aimed at reducing chemical costs by 2024.

According to a 2024 budget speech presented to the council by Finance and Development Committee chairperson Costa Mande, the project was implemented as a way of addressing the cost of importing chemicals for water treatment.

“The project is expected to reduce the number of chemicals used in the purification of water. This will have a positive impact on the reduction of the cost of chemicals and the subsequent water tariff,” he said.

“Rehabilitation of intake works at Lake Chivero and Darwendale will improve the quality of raw water. Refurbishment at  Jaffray (Water Treatment Works) through rehabilitation of 14 filters and replacement of three pumps will improve water) production and pumping to 520 megalitres per day from the current average of 300 megalitres per day once complete.”

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