MIDLANDS: Six local firms fail to deliver under emergency road rehabilitation

By Tafara Chikumira
GOVERNMENT has terminated contracts for six local contractors who have failed to deliver under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme in the Midlands province.
The companies whose contracts have been terminated include those who had agreements for the dualisation of the Boterekwa road and the Lower Gweru Road which connects Gweru to Crossroads Centre.
Some of the contractors stand accused of failing to submit basic paper work such as road designs which require Government approval.
This Monday the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development was in Lower Gweru where it emerged that one of the contractors completely failed to meet contractual agreements despite government setting aside US$1.2 million towards the project.
“We are in the process of terminating his contract. He has completely failed to deliver and its now a cost to government. We are retendering the project where we are going to do proper scrutiny to our contractors. We are still trying to make some calculations on how much he used so that we pay him for the services rendered. We have now set aside zwl$400 million which is close to US$1.8 million for the project. We hope very soon a new contractor will be on site to do the works required,” said Mr Dennis Mapfurira, Midlands Provincial Road Engineer.
The community has been left counting losses after working for three months without pay in the face of allegations of false promises on the part of the contractor.
“I was working here as a cook and our agreement was such I get US$5 per day. However, we managed to work for 30 days a month which translated to US$450 for the three months I worked,” said one community member.
“It’s been difficult working for these guys with no pay at all. When I came to work here, I thought the heavens have finally answered to my prayers. However, it has been work with no pay at all. Talk of modern day slavery. Several attempts to engage them for our salaries have not been fruitful,” said another.
Government has since put in place a policy where companies who fail to meet their contractual agreements will be blacklisted and face penalties for costs incurred.