THE fight between Geogenix BV and the Harare City Council (HCC) is far from over after former Mayor Ian Makone raised issues a fortnight around the Pomona dumpsite deal with Local Government minister Winston Chitando.
Makone, who was recalled from parliament early last month by self-proclaimed Citizens Coalition for Change interim secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu, was replaced by Lovejoy Chitengu last week on Tuesday.
This comes just three weeks after Makone attended the ground-breaking ceremony of the project, which was officiated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, where it seemed Geogeniv BV and HCC had smoked the peace pipe.
According to sources, HCC has submitted a report to the government in which it has raised grievous concerns about the Pomona dumpsite deal.
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent before his replacement, Makone said there were outstanding issues that were not dealt with on the Pomona deal.
“The minister has the executive summary of the Pomona report that I trust he is studying and will respond to. It would be wrong for us to release it at this time,” Makone said.
“The previous council made certain observations on the project, which were communicated to the then Minister of Local Government and Public Works. We wrote to the new Minister of Local Government and Public Works and it is my prayer that the issues raised, not only by council but by several stakeholders, will be addressed.”
The city council is reportedly pushing for the termination of the deal.
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Chitando did not respond to questions sent to him. Geogenix BV was awarded the US$316 million project by the government, which saw HCC paying US$22 000 per day for waste management.
The HCC has refused to pay, calling for the reversal of the deal. The 30-year waste management deal between the Netherlands-based Geogenix BV, fronted by businessman
Delish Nguwaya, seeks to transform the dumpsite into a modern garbage recycling plant, which will supply power from ethane generated from rotting garbage. There are also plans to construct recreational areas, like restaurants, as well as basketball and tennis courts. The Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) spokesperson Precious Shumba is also calling for the renegotiation of the deal in the interest of public social accountability.
“That Pomona dumpsite project is beneficial to Geo Pomona Waste Management Company and not the City of Harare. The contract is skewed against the City of Harare and its residents and should be renegotiated or abandoned in total,” Shumba said.
“The Pomona dumpsite deal is rotten and should be fully investigated to save Harare Residents from this financial heist. The President commissioned a project that was imposed on the City of Harare.
“There is a resolution against that project. The City of Harare rejected the project and so did the residents of Harare who submitted a petition signed by plus 6 000 residents.”
Shumba added that Geo Pomona Waste Management should not claim management of the dumpsite without investing in the waste collection equipment and systems.
“Sadly, the government has indicated that they will take the devolution funds share of the City of Harare to pay off money to Geo Pomona Waste Management for merely receiving the garbage. That dumpsite is an asset of the residents of Harare taken over by force by a company that invested nothing into the venture,” he said.
“If the government wants such a project, they should simply have partnered with the Environment Management Agency and helped build its capacity.”
However, in an interview with the Independent on the sidelines of the ground-breaking ceremony, Nguwaya said they were working well 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.