BULAWAYO City Council has resolved to enter into a partnership with land developers to service Emhlangeni housing stands and stop procuring its own equipment, reversing its earlier ruling to put on hold pre-sale and contracting out servicing, a development some councillors feel was influenced by underhand deals.
This has raised eyebrows within council with claims of corruption, fingering key council officials eyeing the tenders being citied.
In March, the local authority resolved that pre-sale of stands in areas that included Luveve be put on hold to allow council to procure its own equipment.
According to a council report to be tabled during today’s full council meeting, in line with the resolution, council had started the process of procuring equipment but it was felt that it was a lengthy process that involved tendering for equipment.
“The process might take another two months, while the tendering, evaluation and award could take up to between four and five months for the delivery of equipment,” reads part of the report.
According to the report, council had sold stands but serving was pending “namely 169 stands in Mahatshula and 882 stands in Luveve and there were also a number of projects earmarked for pre-sale.
“The projects that were ready for pre-sale were Emhlangeni (562) and Magwgwe North (490).
When the reports was tabled last week Tuesday before Finance and Development committee, councillors raised “concerns that council now intended to alter its decision on and do away with purchase of equipment and revert to tendering servicing of projects”.
Deputy Mayor, Gift Banda told the committee that council “should identify the number of stands in the whole city and not offer piecemeal.
“This would assist councillors to make informed decisions on whether to enter into partnerships or not.
“To service an area of 200 stands was not attractive to developers and was costly”.
The report states that “in view of this, a partnership could speed up works, with council working on one site and the partner on another”.
Councillor Rodney Jele was in support of the partnership arrangement.
However, the some councillors told Southern Eye yesterday that the proposed partnership “would breed corruption”.
“The partnership aspect is suspicious,” one councillor said.
“A very influential councillor (name supplied), is behind this arrangement and we hear that a firm has been identified.
“It’s a pity that senior council officials’ hands are tied, they also stand to benefit from the arrangement, which would be costly to council.”
Council resolved to that “servicing of Luveve and Mahatshulas stands that had been sold be tendered out (and) that in respect to Emhlangeni, council enters into partnership with interested companies or organisations for serving of stands”.