Chiredzi bridge irks residents


CHIREDZI residents have queried the local authority’s decision to construct a $19 000 footbridge without seeking approval from councillors or going to tender.


The 11-metre bridge — which links Makondo and Vhurumuku suburbs — was set to be commissioned last week, but the event was deferred after residents protested demanding to know how the contractor, Concord Construction, was awarded the contract.

Council chairman Francis Moyo blamed town engineer Wesley Kauma whom he accused of unilaterally awarding the project to a private company without seeking councillors’ approval.

He admitted that the contractor never produced a quotation and a bill of quantities as was required by council by-laws.

According to council rules, any project awarded to external contractors must go to tender and at least three quotations must be obtained from different companies.

An engineer with a local private construction company, who preferred anonymity, said ideally such a small bridge should have cost less than $3 000 considering that council supplied some pipes for the project.

“We were told that the pipes which were used at the bridge were bought by council,” said the engineer.

“So such a project must cost less than $3 000 because there was no surfacing required.”

But Kauma said everything was done above board because the project had been approved by the previous council.

He denied that the cost of constructing the footbridge had been inflated.

“We are still working on the bridge. We are going to instruct council security to stop motorists from using that bridge because it is still under construction,” he said. “You can come to my office and I can show you the breakdown of the money used.”