BULAWAYO City Council is embroiled in a potential tender row that is set to dominate the full council meeting today after a tenderer for a butchery, who failed to produce requisite documents, was awarded the tender ahead of other contenders who seemed to have better prospects.
In October, the local authority conducted interviews for new tenants to occupy about 80 closed shops and unoccupied factory shells in the city, months after evicting others in the western areas.
Councillors and the council management officials presided over a week-long selection process.
According to council documents gleaned by Southern Eye yesterday, the awarding of two leases to two shops in Mzilikazi and Nguboyenja has irked several councillors.
Southern Eye was told that the winners were linked to councillors, who hold influential positions within the opposition MDC-T Bulawayo province.
A butchery, stand number 303/115, received an overwhelming response and 62 people were shortlisted for interviews, with only half attending.
The reports revealed that one bidder (name supplied) failed to produce a bank statement.
The shop attracts monthly rentals of $70, but he offered $150.
The report indicated that several bidders had substantial herd of cattle ranging from 30 to 150 with proof of ownership, bank statements reflecting thousands of dollars, offering up to $550 monthly rentals, butchery equipment and detailed employment plans.
However, the interviewing panel settled for the bidder with the lowest offer in rentals.
According to the report, eyebrows have been raised on another shop, number 301/55, awarded to a person linked to a councillor.
The shop, with monthly rentals of $85 attracted interest from 29 people but 17 attended interviews.
The winning bidder also failed to produce required documentation and said he had $3 000 in cash and offered rentals of $180, but his rivals had tabled rentals of up to $650.
In briefings yesterday, council staff said they will fight to reverse the resolutions.
“Be guaranteed that during full council on Wednesday (today) the tender issues will take centre stage,” a councillor said.
“To us this is clear indication of corruption.
“As a city we are calling for investors, but at the same time chasing away those potential investors with detailed investment plans and dishing out leases to people who have demonstrated little business acumen.
“With the case of the butchery, we know that the person who clinched it is representing a councillor and that will be exposed on Wednesday.”
Southern Eye understands that one of the losing bidders, with 150 head of cattle has written a protest letter to council management and copied it to the local government ministry.
During the interviews, bidders where quizzed on their history in Bulawayo and how they would sustain the shops if granted permits and their employment plans.
In June, the local authority called for tenders for the reopening of 80 closed shops and unoccupied factory shells in the city, including the hospitality lounge at Barbourfields Stadium.
The tenders are only for people who have stayed in the city for a minimum of 15 years.
The closed shops are in Barbourfields (4), Luveve (3), Mzilikazi (2), Mpopoma (11), Pelandaba (3), Makokoba (11), Tshabalala (17), Njube (2), Iminyela (2) and Pumula (1).
Factory shells that were surrendered are in Kelvin North while vacant kiosks are located in Barham Green, North End and Centenary Park.
Twenty commercial bays and service industry bays are up for grabs in Luveve.