The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Municipal Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency is reportedly still considering a tender by the Bulawayo City Council to enter into joint partnership agreement with South African based Trendy Three Investments for the establishment of a parking management system.
The tender was finally awarded in September last year after 10 years since it was first mooted. Early last year the local authority re-advertised the tender after a decade of a back-and-forth toil in finalising it, after the local authority was dragged to court by one of the initial bidding companies- Megalithic- that accused the local authority of irregularly cancelling the tender when the company had won it.
After the courts finally allowed council to go ahead with the tender, Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube in January flighted an advertisement in the local media calling for expressions of interest from companies for the designing and installation of the parking management system. This then resulted in Trendy Three Investments emerging with the winning bid. However, six months after the awarding of the tender, nothing has taken off with BCC awaiting the greenlight from Zida.
Responding to questions from Sunday News, BCC corporate communications manager, Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said council was continually engaging Zida and was hopeful that the deal will be finalised.
“The tender for the Design and Installation of a Parking Management System was first advertised as an expression of interest to which 10 firms responded. These expressions of interest were then evaluated resulting in a short list of seven respondents who were then asked to submit detailed technical and financial proposals.
Of these seven, only four submitted detailed proposals on the closing date. The four bids were then evaluated resulting in one bidder being selected to design and install the parking management system. The results were then shared with the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency wing responsible for the establishments of Private, Public Partnerships (PPPs),” said Mrs Mpofu.
She revealed that the last correspondence between the two entities was on 5 March. According to the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency Act the Private, Public Partnerships Unit among other things has the responsibility of considering the said proposals where they are affordable to the contracting authority, provide value for money and are competitive.
“The Public Private Partnership Unit shall through the chief executive officer, make recommendations on such proposals to the Cabinet and examine requests for project proposals to ensure they conform with the approved feasibility studies and to advise Government on PPPs generally, develop best practice guidelines in relation to all aspects of PPPs, formulate suggested policy in relation to PPPs for adoption by the Government and to undertake monitoring and evaluation of PPPs and, where necessary, through the chief executive officer, to make appropriate recommendations concerning such projects to the Cabinet and contracting authority,” reads part of the Act.
The initial shambolic bidding process for the parking management system brought the city’s tendering system under scrutiny, with accusations of corruption among councillors and directors flying around.
First, Easipark, the South African company that was favourite to clinch the parking deal, was disqualified on allegations of attempting to bribe members of the procurement board to swing the bid in its favour. The company was readmitted and the tendering process re-done after consultations among stakeholders.
Easipark was disqualified again, after it failed to attend a compulsory tender briefing meeting, which then saw Megalithic being awarded the tender. Councillors then accused former Deputy Mayor, Amen Mpofu, of championing the Easipark cause.
At one point then Ward Six councillor, who is now Makokoba Member of Parliament, Alderman James Sithole filed a motion where he noted that the local authority should re-tender the project to help enhance revenue collection and service delivery. In his motion, Ald Sithole noted that if the system is put in place, council would go a long way in addressing the problem of traffic congestion which the city was currently experiencing.