Plumtree Council fails to pay contractor

CONSTRUCTION of new sewer ponds in Plumtree Town to cater for the George Silundika suburb has been stopped after the local authority failed to pay the contractor.

The suburb, whose houses were constructed under the Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle project, had no proper sewer reticulation since 2005, with residents resorting to open defecations, exposing themselves to waterborne diseases.

Gate Engineering, which won the tender to build the ponds, has abandoned the project after the town fathers failed to pay it, resulting in its employees going for 10 months without wages.

The project, which was commissioned in September 2017, was also supposed to take on board the over 708 houses being constructed under a ZB Bank facility.

Residents accused council management of misplaced priorities and misuse of funds and were now calling for the government to do a forensic audit of the local authority’s books.

They accused council of buying luxury vehicles at the expense of public health.

Plumtree council chairperson Fanisani Dube refused to comment.

“I could be in the know of what’s happening, but I am not allowed to release any information to the Press,” Dube said.

But Plumtree Combined Residents and Development Association (PCRADA) chairperson Richard Khumalo yesterday confirmed that the project had stalled after council failed to pay the contractor.

“I have been there and spoke to the people who are manning the place. They told me the project was abandoned five months ago due to non-payment by council. As PCRADA, this is troubling us because it means the ponds may be washed away during this rainy season, translating to a loss of public funds, while leaving residents are exposed to a health hazard,” Khumalo said.

He blamed poor management and misplaced priorities coupled with corruption for the problems facing the town council.

“Our local authority should maximise on the effectiveness of revenue collection through securing great value guarding against fraud, waste and corruption. They also should be concerned about the public health safety at the expense of purchasing luxurious vehicles,” Khumalo said.–nesday.co.zw

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