Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
ONE of Hwange’s biggest infrastructural projects funded to the tune of $6 million by the Infrastructural Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) has started.
Speaking after a tour with officials from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing on Tuesday last week Hwange Local Board (HLB) chief executive officer Mr Ndumiso Mdlalose said the Empumalanga West residential stands servicing project was officially underway with the establishment of a Project Vehicle comprising three officials from the bank and two from the local authority.
The officials were tasked with coming up with operational decisions.
“Procurement issues are done by the bank. So the bank procures, it does its own tenders and makes its selection and then advises the Project Vehicle whom it has decided to contract whether it’s for the roads or the street lights and so forth.
“So far they (bank) have identified the project manager who is coincidentally the same person who did the designs for water and sewer, so it’s the same individual who is going to be overall in charge of all the contractors,” said Mr Mdlalose.
He said the contractor for the sewer and water reticulation system was already on site.
“They are doing their trenching. We expect them to lay about 18 kilometres of sewer line and the same length for water. So it’s 18 kilometres of sewer and 18 kilometres for water and reticulation piping. We understand from the bank that material for water and sewer has been procured,” said Mr Mdlalose.
Installation of the sewer and water reticulation system is expected to be completed in April next year.
Selection for a contractor to conduct road servicing is expected to be done soon.
“We are looking at about 14 kilometres of road network to service almost 2 600 mixed density residential stands, so we have high density, medium density and low density. Servicing will entail sewer and water reticulation, roads construction up to surfacing, in other words tarred roads as well as street lighting. For street lighting we have emphasised for solar street lighting so the contractor who will be putting the street lights will be putting solar street lights,” said Mr Mdlalose.
The project would also entail rehabilitation of the Empumalanga high density suburb’s sewerage plant, which has been non-functional for more than 10 years. The Empumalanga plant services a population of over 6 000 people.
“Other than that (residential project) there is also off site infrastructure, which is in the form of sewer treatment works, the Empumalanga sewer treatment works. It’s also part of that project. We expect that to cost in the region of $1 million perhaps slightly less than that and funding is already in place. We expect work to also commence for that project anytime soon. The process for the identification of the contractor is again being done by the bank. We expect them to then advise us on whom they would have selected,” said Mr Mdlalose.
He said the IDBZ funded project is the biggest infrastructural development project to be undertaken by the local authority.
“In the past we would do smaller projects of about 200 stands or 300 stands but if you are looking at this one it’s 2 600, it’s arguably the best to date. So it’s actually the biggest project for the council,” said Mr Mdlalose.
He said another financial institution was at an advanced stage of purchasing residential stands.
“We are at an advanced stage as we are now waiting for the approval of the layout plans for the stands that they want. We understand that the process is now at the head office of Physical Planning in Harare waiting for approval from the board. Once the layout plan is approved then we would be able to enter into an agreement with the bank and be able to sell them land.
However, the local authority is still struggling to get investors for its $50 million Civic Centre Project resulting in delays in its commencement.
The 12,5-hectare Civic Centre was proposed three-years ago as part of the local authority’s drive to attain township status.
“For the civic centre we will shortly be flighting an advert to invite interested people to come and partner with us in building it. As for the CBD (Central Business District), the land is open for takers, anyone who wants to come on board and buy land within the CBD we are extending that invitation, probably we will be going out more forcibly and more visibly to attract investors to the CBD and within the CBD that’s where we expect to have the civic centre,” said Mr Mdlalose.