BULAWAYO City Council fears that a company it awarded a $121 400 contract to refurbish the West Park crematorium in 2013 will not do the job, after the firm only managed to dismantle the old structure.
BY NQOBILE BHEBHE
Massen Engineering was awarded the contract to supply, install and commission a new crematorium at West Park Cemetery. The firm was given 15 weeks to complete the project.
However, according to a recent report, the company only managed to dismantle the old cremator and to pull down the crematorium chimney.
In January last year council paid Massen Engineering
$97 127 and the balance would have been paid after the completion of the project, which is now behind schedule.
Council’s health services department is seeking legal advice on the status of the contract.
“Massen Engineering had signed the contract for the project with Bulawayo City Council on 27 November 2013 and was duly paid the required deposit of $97 120 in January 2014,” part of the council report reads.
“To date, over 12 months later, the company was only able to dismantle the old cremator and to pull down the crematorium chimney, but otherwise prevaricated on all the other issues.”
The local authority is trying to convince residents to embrace cremations because it is running out of burial space. In February, only nine bodies were cremated in Bulawayo.
Meanwhile, Bulawayo recorded a 150% upsurge in fire outbreaks since January and most of the incidents were blamed on either electrical faults or fires that were started deliberately.
According to the latest report by the Bulawayo City Council Fire and Ambulance Services department, 55% of the fires were on properties.
Household property worth $25 590 was lost in fire outbreaks since January.
“There was an increase of 150% in the number of fires as compared to eight calls for the same period in 2014,” the report said.
“Property fires contributed 55% of total fires attended to during the month ended 28 February 2015.”
Council said it was stepping up fire prevention programmes in a bid to reverse the trend.
“Fire prevention exercises are ongoing to ensure fire safety to the community of Bulawayo,” the report reads.
Major causes of fire outbreaks were discarded lit material like cigarettes, children playing with matches and electrical faults.
“There was an increase of 200% on false alarms as compared to two for the same period in 2014,” the report added.
Bulawayo council last week received 11 fire engines and equipment from Operation Florian, a United Kingdom fire and humanitarian organisation.