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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 4 MAY 2013 VOL. 39 NO. 20
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 4th May, 2013
The House of Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(MR. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY MR. SPEAKER
PRIME MINISTER’S QUESTION TIME
- SPEAKER: I would like to inform the House that there will
th June, 2013 at Quarter be Prime Minister’s Question Time tomorrow, 5 past Two in the afternoon.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders
of the Day, Nos. 1 to 3 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the
Day have been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
SPECIAL REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON
LOCAL GOVERNEMENT, RURAL AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
ON LOCAL AUTHORITIES
- KARENYI: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Special Report of the Portfolio Committee on Local Government on local authorities.
- MUDAU: I second.
1.1 In its oversight function your Committee invited the Hon.
Minister of Local Government Rural and Urban Development Dr Ignatious Morgan Chiminya Chombo to apprise the Members on the mayors and councillors that he had dismissed from Office and to further state from which town they belonged to and to give reasons for such dismissals. Furthermore, your Committee requested for submissions from the Secretary of the Ministry seeking clarification on the status of such councillors. Your Committee was concerned that the dismissals impacted very negatively on the Local Authorities’ ability to provide quality service to the people in the affected localities.
2.1 The Hon Minister gave a detailed submission on the affected localities starting with Harare. Your Committee proceeded to consider the Hon Minister's evidence.
- Harare City Council
In its examination of the responses by the Hon. Minister on cases of mismanagement within local authorities, your Committee heard of cases within the Harare City Council where a Councillor H Gomba was implicated and had to be subsequently dismissed. The Hon Minister said in arriving at the decision taken against Councillor. H. Gomba, the appropriate Section of the Urban Councils' Act 114:1 (c) and (d) was used.
- The Hon Minister disclosed that some councillors in Harare had worked in cahoots with Council Officials and altered names of people who had been residing in their homes during the past 40-50 years and replaced them with their names instead. The reason was anticipation that the houses would be sold to the sitting tenants and these were determined by rentals, rates and electricity bills. Such councillors, the Hon. Minister alleged, wanted to take advantage of the situation as was reported in the Press. The suspects were given a chance to defend themselves but they could not extricate themselves out of the situation.
The accused included:- S. Machetu - dismissed Gorekore - dismissed
Mbadzi - pardoned
Zaranyika - dismissed
Takura - dismissed for being dishonest with Council funds
Dumba - dishonest with Council funds and dismissed
Vengesai - dishonest with Council property, involved in improper procurement of goods and was suspended.
Katsande - reinstated but he was later dismissed.
- In the case of Councillor Machetu and others listed above, your Committee observed that the Hon. Minister dismissed them despite the court judgement exonerating them of any wrong doing. The High Court, in its Judgement HC 1067 of 2011, ordered their reinstatement as councillors citing that the decision to dismiss them was grossly unreasonable. Your Committee wondered why the Minister applied the law selectively in view of the fact that the Court had set aside the dismissal of these Councillors and at the same time, the Hon Minister pardoned others who had committed similar offences.
- Chitungwiza Town Council
- Councillor P. Marange was convicted of criminal abuse of office as a public servant and found guilty of corrupt practices. He was sentenced to three years. Provision of the Act Section 41, paragraph 7 was invoked. The conviction automatically disqualified him as a councillor. In evidence before your committee, the Hon. Minister also stated that in the matter involving Councillor Vengesai, the charge was that he created a company with another council official and awarded Council tenders to their company.
- Councillor Kanyama was alleged to have criminally abused his office as a public servant by unprocedurally allocating himself Zengeza 3 Creche Stand No. 7210 Unit J and Stand No. 7687. The said stand was a creche yard and a creche structure was set up. The rest of the area was a playground. Kanyama is alleged to have built his house right in the middle of the playground and proceeded to possess another Stand in the corner which he then gave to his brother. After one and a half years, Mr. Kanyama appealed against his dismissal claiming that it was unprocedural.
- The Hon. Minister informed your Committee that he had suspended two special interest councillors that he had appointed for nonperformance. On the whole, the Hon. Minister disclosed that the said Councillors were conniving with council officials in avoiding tender procedures. As a result, they awarded tenders to themselves and their companies, something which was not authorised by Council. The Hon. Minister stressed that as a result of abuse of office by the councillors, he had no alternative but to dismiss them. The Hon. Minister laid the blame squarely on the Harare Mayor for having allowed such cases of impropriety to flourish within the City Council.
- Councillor Mr. D. Puzo was accused of mismanagement of Council Affairs and Section 114 (1c) and (1d) of the Act was invoked while investigations were in course. A similar charge was laid against
Councillor P. Keru who was subsequently suspended.
- LOCAL AUTHORITIES OUTSIDE HARARE
- The Hon. Minister further chronicled other cases of corruption within other Councils. These cases all related to mismanagement of
Council property and Council Affairs. The following Councillors from
Rusape were all dismissed for these offences:-
- In Bindura, similar cases of mismanagement of Council property and Council Affairs were reported. All the following
Councillors, except Councillor Muchemwa, were dismissed:-
- In Chinhoyi, the Ministry officials informed your Committee that Councillors were suspended for various acts of misconduct. The
Hon Minister said that Mayor Nyamhondoro, with his Deputy Mayor, Councillor Nyambi and Councillor Charuza were involved in the mismanagement of Council property and Council affairs. The Hon.
Minister said, “...vaida kuita utsotsi hwetender”. The suspects were suspended while awaiting investigations from the Court.
- Other cases of abuse of property and mismanagement of Council affairs and flouting of tender procedures and behaviour bordering on racial segregation in the City of Mutare were reported by the Hon. Minister. The cases of corruption and abuse of office also included among others, the following:-
Councillor I Masaka - the Deputy Mayor for driving without a licence and being involved in an accident with the Mayoral S – Class
Benz which was worth Z$2 610 134 440, 00 when purchased in 2004. The prejudice to the Mutare City Council could not be ascertained as the vehicle remained unrepaired. However, as of the end of April 2012 repairs to the vehicle were quoted at US$26 000 and US$13 000 respectively.
Councillor E. Upare –for mismanagement of Council Affairs and tender of Public Finance Investment Programme (PFIP) funds, he was acquitted by the courts but was subsequently dismissed. Investigations were said to be underway as more Councils have been implicated in similar cases of mismanagement of their affairs and tender of Public Finance Investment Programme (PFIP) funds.
He was dismissed but investigations are yet to be concluded as there are other Councillors that have also been implicated.
In the case of Brian James the Hon. Minister stated that as a white member of the society, he did not want collective decision making. He had held meetings with the Ministry before and had been warned or sanctioned on five previous occasions. However, he had not taken heed of the warnings and had proceeded to contract some other white colleague at an exorbitant cost to the Council. The Council had been advised by the Ministry to refrain from engaging in activities that drained its coffers. A sum of $600 000 of Council funds had been extravagantly abused leading to Brian James Being forced to unceremoniously resign. However, he bounced back purporting to be coming to conclude what he had started. Brian James was allegedly unfair and abusive to his colleagues. The Hon. Minister was later approached by the Council to dismiss him. However, this has not yet been done as he still remains under suspension.
4.0 RURAL DISTRICT COUNCILS
4.1 The Rural District Councils had also not been spared the scourge of corruption and abuse of office by some of their Councillors. In the Manyame Rural District Council, C Manhombo was allegedly burning down people’s houses and misusing Council funds from sales of pit sand. He was initially dismissed but later on reinstated on the belief that he had turned over a new leaf. Your Committee is extremely concerned that the matter has not been appropriately dealt with as burning other people's properties is a clear criminal case of arson which should have been referred to relevant authorities. Furthermore, your Committee is concerned at the abuse of Council funds which seemed to have been going on unabated
4.2 In the Mutasa Rural District Council, cases of abuse of office, theft of food meant for the ill patients in Ward 10 and fraud by Councillors O Mbona and M Nyangani were reported by the Hon.
Minister. Both of them were dismissed.
4.3 In the Rushinga Rural District, a Councillor Kanyama was found guilty of mismanagement of tenders. He was reprimanded and dismissed.
4.4 In the Wedza Rural District, Councillor S Mapako was responsible for the mismanagement of Council Affairs. He was reprimanded and stood down as Council chairperson.
4.5 Cases of abuse of tender processes were also reported in the
Gutu Rural district Council where a D. N. Jinga was reprimanded.
All the cases reported were committed by individuals without any resolutions from the Council. The Hon. Minister said, “They did not do this with the authorisation of the Council”.
5.1 Your Committee noted with concern, administrative lapses and discrepancies within Local Councils as exercised by the Hon Minister.
These included interference in the awarding of tenders in the Local Authority of Chinhoyi.
5.2 Your Committee further noted that an arsonist was not charged despite the malicious damage to people's properties.
5.3 Furthermore, there seemed to be selective application of the law when dealing with cases of misconduct by Councillors. For example, your Committee could not comprehend the logic of imposing different disciplinary measures for similar offences by Councillors in the same Ministry. Some were dismissed and others were pardoned, cautioned or suspended for exactly the same offences.
5.4 Your Committee was disturbed that a number of commissions were appointed to conduct investigations on Councils by civil servants who earn a salary at the end of the month and also draw a lot of money from the local authorities as they carry out their investigations.
Your Committee was also concerned at the Minister's disregard for the laws of the country by dismissing councillors who had been acquitted by the Courts, Councillor Machetu and three others are a case in point.
5.5 Your Committee also observed that the Hon Minister seemed to be confusing criminal offences with Council issues.
5.6 The appointment of Special Interest Councillors to serve in the various local authorities left a lot to be desired. The Minister alluded to the fact that different political parties could present their candidates to be considered as Special Interest Councillors in the various Councils. However, the Hon Minister did not inform the Political Parties which special interests their parties would represent. The majority of the
Special Interest Councillors did not bring in any special interest to the
Councils. Instead the Special Interest Councillors appointed by the Minister to represent special interest groups in different local authorities come from one party. The following appointments of Special Interest
Councillors are a typical example:-
Martin Zimani, former Zanu.PF Mayor who lost ward 12 Zanu.PF primaries.
Chasauka, former Deputy Mayor who lost Ward primaries to MDC Councillor Edias Ticharwa.
Ms. Chahwanda lost Zanu.PF primaries.
Esau Mupfumi, Zanu.PF Central Committee member who lost Mutare Senatorial seat to the MDC.
Misheck Mugadza, a former commissioner of Mutare appointed after the sacking of MDC Mayor Misheck Kagurabadza.
Tapiwa Matangaidze, Zanu.PF provincial secretary for transport in Manicaland Province.
Torongo Hieronymo, Zanu P.F Secretary for Harare Provincial
Kuchekwa Kizito, losing Zanu PF candidate for High field West in the Parliamentary election.
Ushewekunze Abicia T
Magwalaba Thembinkosi, a ZANU PF sympathetic lawyer
Nyachowe Charles Chairperson of AAG
Allana Hanif Moosa
Shingai I Mutumbwa
Marufu Lisbon, Loosing Zanu.PF candidate in Chitungwiza
Tom S Alfred
Makoni Rural District Council
Monica Chinamasa, Wife of Patrick Chinamasa, ZANU PF
Politburo member and Minister in the Inclusive Government.
Chief Chuduku who is also a Senator.
Buhera Rural District Council
Pasipanodya Chiturike lost Ward 8 to MDC’s Peter Madzivenyika
Henry Kujinga who lost Ward 23 to MDC’s Tongesai Zvavamwe
Abigail Musarurwa a ZANU PF women’s league activist in the
Zvimba Rural District Council
Peter Nyizira, Former ZANU PF councillor who lost Ward 23 to
MDC’s Emmanuel Chinanzvavana
Lancelot Zviringwe lost in Ward 22 ZANU PF to Fani Tempo
Gokwe Town Council
Davison Masvisvi ZANU PF District Chairman for Gokwe centre who lost Ward 5 to MDCs Liphius Mutegwe
5.7 That there is need to investigate the behaviour of the councillors on one hand and the Hon Minister`s way of handling issues in the ministry.
5.8 Your Committee wondered as to the special interest represented by the Chiefs. It was surprising how a chief could be a councillor at the same time and your Committee strongly feels that these are anomalous situations that need to be redressed.
6.1 Your Committee is also concerned that cases of maladministration within councils seriously undermine service delivery within the local authorities and therefore recommends the following:- (a) That the Minister practice professionalism in the administration of Council affairs by ensuring that the law is not applied selectively.
(b) That Special Interest Councillors should truly represent interests of special groups in their various local authorities regardless of their political affiliations.
(c)that in the interest of justice, transparency and integrity the Hon. Minister should seriously consider the interest of the people by ensuring that they are not served by dysfunctional local authorities and that those acquitted by the Courts are reinstated as a matter of urgency.
(d) That due tender processes must be complied with in the case of all local authorities.
- That in the interests of true representation in Councils, Chiefs numbers must be limited.
- That continuous training of Councillors should be ongoing so that the councillors understand the operation vis-a-vis the council
- That mechanisms, should be reinstated as ordered by the committee.
7.1Your Committee is of the considered view that the Ministry would scrutinise this report and come up with remedial action which will enhance service delivery and operations of the local authorities country wide.
- CHEBUNDO: Thank you Mr. Speaker for affording me the
opportunity to contribute to this important report by your Committee. I do not belong to this Committee but I found the report to be very much interesting and important that I need to add my voice.
Given the importance of the lower tier level of Government, the local Government, I believe hon. members will agree with me that there is need for us as a country to be serious when it comes to putting arrangements that facilitate the good management of the lower tier level of our Government. This is especially important for development and therefore, its management in my view, both at ministerial level and at the lower tier level, needs to be put in such a good arrangement. A thing that has been raised by the Committee should not be seen to be obtaining on the ground again.
The first point Mr. Speaker is that, our hon. minister, who the report is addressing after giving evidence to the Committee, in my view I want to thank the Committee first and foremost, for bringing the minister to the table. The minister is known for absenting himself from Parliament. You will agree with me that for the past whole term, Parliament has been seized with questions put forward for the minister but he was not turning up. Members were concerned and at several meetings that issue was raised? So, for the Minister to have come before the Committee, I think we want to thank the Committee for achieving
The second thing is that, there are quite a number of issues that came out. I will quickly think along the lines on the fact that in the local Government laws or Acts, they are known everywhere that they give so much powers to the minister. He ends up, in my view, doing the things that have been mentioned here such as the way he handles the issues of corrupt councillors and councils. The Committee discovered that he managed to handle several of these cases selectively. Some seem to have been pardoned and others seem to have been left to go off the hook even after the courts found them wanting in terms of their dealings.
One would quickly look at the issues along the political lines. As mentioned in the report, the minister in my view, was biased because he would go for councillors, for example, for the party of excellence. MDC councillors who were found wanting by his party in Chitungwiza and were fired for corrupt activities, the minister would come to their protection. But, at the same time if you go to the councillors that have been mentioned by the Committee who belonged to ZANU PF, even where the courts have found them guilty, the minister will still pardon them or reinstate them.
That alone is an indication of the kind of a minister, who in my view, did not do or perform well regarding the management of the sector ministry itself. Mr. Speaker Sir, when I read in the papers in the past, when the print media was trying to rank the ministers according to their performance for the past term of office, I wonder why Minister Chombo was not put at the top most of the worst performing ministers? That is, in view of all these things that are now coming out of the reports and we know he performed along those lines.
Mr. Speaker, I have a case of corruption from my constituency. The Finance Director of Kwekwe Municipality was proved by the local governing body and by his council to have abused more than $230 000. There was glare evidence being put across and the council decided after making some enquiries to dismiss such a corrupt person. The Finance Director entrusted with the money of the community, abused them and the council decided to dismiss him. The local governing body which is in the Urban Councils Act and has powers similar to those of courts, found him guilty and dismissed him. Then, the minister would bring back the Finance Director simply because he was in the structures of
ZANU PF at provincial level.
If it was not for the intervention of this Member of Parliament and communities of Kwekwe who took the minister to the High Court, that Director would have been reinstated. But finally, of course we stood our ground at the High Court and paved the way for the dismissal of that corrupt person. That is again one of the examples of how the minister handled issues of corruption with selective approach which has been alluded to by the Committee. I think I will continue to say the minister was the worst performer in terms of making sure that the sector Ministry was run professionally and without interference.
Mr. Speaker, the issue of special interest councilors has been actually alluded to by the Committee. I think it is one area that I just want to share with the hon.members that you did a very good job by bringing in a Constitution that brought devolution. With devolution, it means some kind of more democratisation of processes that manage local government to ensure that people will participate with less interference from those who would have been appointed to run the ministries. In my view, that will facilitate for more development to be achieved in this country because development starts at the lower level of Government tier and this is the local government level. So, one would want to give credit to Parliament of Zimbabwe and credit to people of Zimbabwe for coming up with a Constitution that will put paid to arrangements like the one that was there which gives the minister unlimited powers to abuse public and local government.
I want to thank you, Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me this time to add my voice along the lines of the important report presented to your Parliament by your very able Committee led by Hon. Karenyi.
- S. MUSHONGA: In Mazowe Rural District Council, the councilors in the Tender Committee awarded tenders to themselves. They were arrested, they are under prosecution and there is no suspension. The Chief Executive Officer who approved this award of tenders to sitting councilors who are members of the Tender Committee is under prosecution and he has never been suspended.
We have raised this with the minister but we know why they are not being suspended. They belong to a certain political party. If this scenario was operational in Harare or Bulawayo, I can rest assure you that these councilors would be suspended or dismissed. We are not talking of issues which have happened now; this is something which has happened before 2008, which is in court. Nothing is being done because there is always a blind eye turned to some corrupt activities by councilors who belong to a certain political party.
We want the minister when he is exercising his ministerial powers to act across the political divide. We want the Minister of Local Government not to entertain any corruption in councils. It is very unfortunate that because of this selective application of the law or attitude of the minister, it is helping to breed corruption.
Most Rural District Councils are working to pay themselves official salaries. There is no development in Rural District Councils. It is very unfortunate and we want to urge the minister, hopefully that after the 29th of June we have an election and a new minister who will probably go by the book and who will apply the law without any fear or favour.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: May I move that Order of the Day, Number 5 be stood down until all the other Orders of the Day have been disposed of. Whilst I am on my feet, may I move that Order of the Day Number 2 which had been stood down earlier on be dealt with?
Motion put and agreed to.
FIRST REPORT OF THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE ON
THE REPORT OF THE COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR
GENERAL ON THE MANAGEMENT OF DAM PROJECTS BY THE
ZIMBABWE NATIONAL WATER AUTHORITY
- CHINYADZA: I move the motion standing in my name that
this House takes note of the First Report of the Public Accounts
Committee on the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on the Management of Dam Projects by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority.
- S. MUSHONGA: I second.
- CHINYADZA: I rise to present the First Report of the Public
Accounts Committee on the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on the management of dam construction and water supply projects by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority code named ZINWA.
The report was presented to Parliament in February 2013 and it is my fervent hope that all members of this august House have had ample time to go through our report and are prepared to vigorously debate the findings of this for the good governance of Zimbabwe and an enhanced service delivery by the parastatal. Accordingly, I will summarise the findings of the Committee and hope that members of the House will pick up the pieces in the debate of this invaluable service provider in our nation.
The examination of the ZINWA Audit Report by the Public Accounts Committee was motivated by the following twin objectives:
- i) To provide an in-depth analysis of the CAG’s audit findings and to expose the underlying causes and issues circumscribing poor service delivery by ZINWA and ii) To recommend appropriate corrective action which may facilitate the implementation of efficient and effective management tools on dam construction and water supply projects by ZINWA.
In evolving its recommendations the Public Accounts Committee received oral and written submissions from ZINWA itself, State
Procurement Board, Infrastructural Development Bank, Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers and also the private contractors who were contracted to undertake dam construction and water supply projects under the management of ZINWA.
- Projects taking too long to be completed
The audit found out that between 2004 and 2009 ZINWA was managing 14 dam projects and at the time of audit all had exceeded their target dates of completion by periods ranging from one to six years and only 3 were near completion (viz Matezva 99%, BubiLupane 65% and Tokwe Mukorsi 60%).
These unacceptable delays were predicated on four factors:
- Inability to prioritise projects
- Incompetence of contractors
- Payment problems to contractors
- Scarcity of technical skills to monitor project implementation.
The consequences of these horrendous delays not only reflected themselves in the fettered service delivery and hence lost decades of socio-economic development to ordinary Zimbabweans, but also stultifying increases in project costs relating to interest costs, penalties, stand-in time for machinery and inflation.
- Failure to Select Competent Contractors
Written submissions availed to the Committee shows that the slow progress at Mutange Dam currently at 32% completion was attributed to lack of adequate capacity of the main contractor, New Civils, who has since sub-contracted its work to Multi force. The project commenced in 2002 and was targeted for completion in December 2013.
The major problem which is exacerbating the failure to select competent contractors is the inadequate legal provisions which fail to confer the ultimate responsibility of choice of contractors between the State Procurement Board and ZINWA. The SPB is responsible for only the adjudication of tenders but not implementation which is done by ZINWA. The problem arises when the SPB opts for a tenderer who has no discerned capacity and deems that its responsibility ends there, yet ZINWA would have recommended differently. The result is that contractors who have a poor record with ZINWA continue to be awarded contracts by SPB. This compromises the project implementation.
AWARDING TOO MANY CONTRACTS TO ONE COMPANY
Audit revealed that contracts were being awarded to companies already working on other projects regardless of how well they were performing on projects already in-house.
DELAYS IN PAYMENT OF WORK DONE
Numerous projects were experiencing work stoppages ranging from 8 – 11 months due to non-payment of work done. As a result, contractors experience serious cash flow problems as Treasury fails to pay as promised.
IN HOUSE PROJECTS FOR WATER SUPPLY
The audit revealed that most water supply stations and pump houses were NOT adequately equipped. It was observed that ZINWA inherited 500 which needed rehabilitation but was NOT allocated the requisite funds to make these operational. Some of these pumps were over 20 years old and could not be rehabilitated and hence needed funds to acquire new pumps, which funds were not made available. Compounding this funds problem is the resistance ZINWA is getting from consumers who are reluctant to pay for the service provided. By 6 June 2012, ZINWA was owed over $100 million with the main debtors being irrigators/farmers, domestic consumers, local authorities and government.
RECOMMENDATIONS OF COMMITTEE
Having made the observations referred in this report, the PAC made the following recommendations:
- In order to facilitate project completion, the Committee recommends that the ministry and Parliament should concentrate only on projects which can be completed with the resources available in a given time frame. Projects of national priority but without adequate funding should be considered under other financing options such as PPPs, Build, Operate and Transfer (BOPT); and Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT).
- With regards to selection of incompetent contractors, the Committees sees no role for corruption in the awarding of contracts and therefore recommends that competence should be the funding principle in awarding contracts;
- With regards the Problem of awarding too many contracts to one company, the Committee recommends that ZINWA and SPB, should award contracts only to companies that are financially sound and have the requisite skills and equipment to implement the projects within the stipulated time frame;
- The committee observed that there are a number of dams throughout the country whose water is NOT fully utilized due to lack of infrastructure to ferry the water to the point of use. In this context the Committee recommends that ZINWA should accord the highest priority to projects which distribute the water so harnessed to point of use. Accordingly, their project planning should include all stages from water harnessing, water distribution and billing;
- With respect to funding problems in ZINWA, the Committee DOES NOT condone a situation where Government sets up a parastatal but does not allocate it sufficient funds to enable it to meet its mandate. In this context, water is a matter of life for all people in Zimbabwe and this service cannot be left to the highly incapacitated parastatal to perform to MDG targets without adequate funding. Hence Treasury, as a matter of priority, allocates sufficient funds for ZINWA to procure the pumps it needs;
- Finally, water charges are not in tandem with usage levels. Accordingly, ZINWA should put in place a billing system that is linked to actual use and the opportunity cost of water. Further ZINWA should diversify its revenue base by exploring other cash generating services in the resources they operate. I thank you Mr.
- CROSS: I rise to speak to this particular motion because it is very important. I recently had an opportunity to look at two projects being managed by ZIMRA. One of them is Tokwe-Mukorsi and the other one is the Mtshabezi. In the case of Tokwe-Mukorsi, the Budget and Finance Committee went to the site in the afternoon at 3.00 p.m. The engineer in charge of the projects from ZIMRA was in an air conditioned office with his shirt off and surrounded by empty beer bottles.
No other members of ZIMRA were on site. They had already left for the weekend. We then proceeded to inspect the actual site. Mr. Speaker, I have been in business for nearly 50 years. I have never seen a construction site in such a mess. The foreign constructors on site, one engineer from Sulini said they were doing this on site but every house was based there. This project was initiated in 1998 – 1999 as a joint venture with the sugar companies in the Low veldt. At the same time, sugar companies offered to build this dam in return for access to the water for expansion purposes.
That offer was turned down by the state and the Ministry of Water was given the responsibility of draping this dam. This dam has now cost three times its original estimated cost and it remains 60% complete. We are now entering into a phase which is extremely critical, that it is the largest dam in Zimbabwe after Kariba. It will be five times the size of Kyle. It is a big dam with a huge wall. The wall is nearing 90 metres high. It is being constructed on a rock fall basis which means that the concrete slab which is cast in the front of the dam, will determine its impermeability. When the contractor starts sealing the river which he has started to work on, I understand that the river has been coursed off now and the water has been diverted to the tunnel. They are entering into a phase where the work cannot stop. Once you start pouring concrete, you have to continue until it is completed day and night. This is essentially a function of availability of funding.
Mr. Speaker, if the country does not have the resources and you have allocated US$50 million to Tokwe-Mukorsi in this current year, if the country does not have the resources to fund such projects properly, then we should borrow the money on a short-term basis and make sure that the contractor has adequate resources and until the project is complete. I want to inform the House Mr. Speaker that, if there is any interruption in the pouring of concrete at Tokwe-Mukorsi, it will put the entire project in jeopardy.
We may have spent about US$120 million or US$150 million on real estate which we were going to think was going to be flooded and then it will destroy most of the wall because of dam breaks. This is not saying that this is not hypothetical, this is a reality. In addition to this Mr. Speaker, it is critically important that we have these projects supervised properly by professional engineering firms. It is a common practice in this country that when a project of this magnitude is undertaken, a professional firm is paid on commission basis to supervise the tendering, supervise the contraction and in the end being satisfied that the work is being done to the satisfaction of the contractor. In this case we have ZINWA supervising the contractor and ZINWA is incapable of performing that function that is the reality. They do not have the skills, they do not have the experience and they simply do not have the capacity to supervise a sophisticated contractor like Celine from Italy. This is extremely dangerous. This is a very serious issue.
The second project is the Mtshabezi Project. Mtshabezi dam has about 52 million cubic meters of water in it. It has not been empty since it was constructed and the dam was closed. Bulawayo is once again facing a critical water shortage. Already Ncema dam has been decommissioned. Next will be the Nyanguni Dam followed by lower Ncema and then Umzingwane.
The position in Bulawayo today is worse at this time than it was last year. We face a situation in Bulawayo where if nothing is being done urgently about this situation, Bulawayo is not going to be able to provide the basic needs of its people by the end of this year, by October. We need 100 000 cubic meters of water a day in Bulawayo to meet basic minimum needs and that is 30% less than water we need at full supply. At 100 000 cubic meters a day much of Bulawayo high density townships are without water and are supplied by a tanker or by boreholes. In the face of this, ZINWA was given authority to proceed with a pipeline project from Mtshabezi Dam to Umzingwane, some 32 kilometers. They awarded the contract to a Chinese company. This was not funded with Chinese money, it was funded with our money, allocated by this House, initially in a grant of US$35 million. I can tell you that that is a very, very huge contract. The company completed the project but we had to allocate it more money. We gave it another US$5 million. In October last year, they completed the two pipelines and in opposition to what our local engineering firm had recommended, it had recommended cement pipes. They installed two plastic pipes. The plastic imported from South Africa. The Chinese contractor completed the pump station and the Minister of Water went to the site to open the project on the 24th October, 2012. He found the project completed. He went into the pump station and he asked how to turn on the pumps to see if they were operational and he was informed Mr. Minister, there is no electricity. This is true, the Minister then returned to Harare and phoned his colleague in the Ministry of Energy and said what can you do?
ZESA brought a power line to Mtshabezi 72 kilometers from Gwanda and he did this in six weeks.
This shows utter incompetence on the part of ZINWA. Here we have got a project which has cost US$40 million and the situation is that last month Mtshabezi was delivering between three and five thousand cubic meters of water a day to Bulawayo. The design capacity of the system is 17 000 cubic meters of water per day. So, they are operating at 30% of design capacity, no explanations were given nor the reasons on why it is not performing, the contractor is now here on sight.
Now if you just take these two projects, I do not understand, if you take the Aquifer project to most of Bulawayo which has a design capacity on two Aquifers to provide like 20 000 cubic meters of water a day to Bulawayo. It is supplying between 1 000 and 2 000 cubic meters of water a day. It is operating at less than two percent capacity. We have spent US$5 million there in the last six months without any improvement in performance. We have refurbished the Aquifer system not less than four times in the last ten years. Every time there is a crisis, we put more money in. It is managed by ZINWA. The Minister refuses to pass the management to the Bulawayo City Council which at least has some competence.
Mr. Speaker, how much longer are we going to go on tolerating this kind of incompetence? The fundamental principle is that any project worth more than US$5 million should have a professional consulting engineer appointed to manage the project. He should report to the Ministry of Water and to ZINWA if it is necessary and ZINWA will still be the financing agent but they do not have the competence. They cannot afford the competence of the kind of people who should be looking after these projects on our behalf. This is an extremely important motion and I hope that the other hon. members in the House will support this in the strongest possible terms. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: I move that the debate do now
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 5th June, 2013.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS, the House adjourned at Twenty
Four Minutes past Three o’clock p.m.