By Itai Muzondo
Masvingo, 6 September 2015 – With the economic crisis biting hard local authorities are failing to provide adequate services for the ratepayers, Masvingo City Council recently clinched a windfall following a mega signing with China’s CAMC Engineering which will enable them to apply for funding towards critical infrastructural development projects.
Speaking to attendants gathered at the memorandum of agreement signing ceremony recently, City Town Clerk Adolf Gusha said the signing comes as a fulfilment of the government’s look east policy.
“This signing comes at a time we are expecting US$60 million from our Chinese friends which is meant to upgrade the city’s sewer system. It also comes as a fulfilment of the government’s Look East policy as we have publicly managed to enter into a marriage wi CAMC Engineering,” said Gusha.
Representatives from CAMC Engineering, Wang Kailong and Bao Wei gave a word of assurance to the City Council and said that they were willing to work with the city fathers in all matters of development.
“We are ready to work with you and offer our support in developmental projects. Our company is willing to offer financial help,” said Kailog.
Having demonstrated against corruption and diversion of German funds by the council, youthful and outspoken Masvingo Residents Trust leader, Prosper Tiringindi said residents always welcome such developments as long as the city council will be accountable for the money received.
“Residents will never go against such developments as they also wish to have an organised and well developed city. The real issue however is that the city council management must be accountable for all funds received.
“We would also not welcome a scenario that jobs, especially construction work be awarded to Chinese companies only as if all our local constructors have jobs. The MoU should not act as more of a bribe that they give the council support and in return you award them mega contracts,” Tiringindi urged.
Meanwhile, Masvingo residents have drastically lost trust in council after they failed to meet their word on projects which were funded from ratepayer’s coffers besides the one successful water augmentation program which was funded by the African Development Bank.
One of the pending projects is road refurbishment which was expected to begin in July after council controversially induced and collected a three dollars road levy from every household for a six months period but nothing has been implemented yet as council maintains it that most residents still owe them.
The other burning and yet to be completed project is the trunk sewer pipe which was expected to be complete before 2014’s rainy season but has remained idle since then as the city fathers say the project came to a halt because it was under charged regardless of having payed US$2 million to the contractor.
Also present at the memorandum of understanding signing ceremony was City Mayor Hubert Fidze, Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Shuvai Ben Mahofa and Masvingo Provincial Administrator Felix Chikovo.