BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE

THE Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) has demanded that the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) must explain the rationale behind the awarding of a tender to three contractors to develop housing stands.

Their demand came soon after BCC announced its intention to rollout 2 400 stands in Bulawayo to reduce the city’s housing backlog.

The BCC awarded contracts to Heavenview Properties, Veluntina Investments and Cabinlock Construction.

In a letter of demand to BCC, BPRA co-ordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu said his organisation wanted BCC to clarify how the three companies won the tender.

He said there was need for due diligence to be carried out in awarding contracts.

“BPRA wants to know who the individuals behind these companies are. What do these companies do? What is their track record? Which other projects of a similar nature have they completed? Who else had applied for the tender and what criteria was used in selecting these companies,” the letter read in part.

“Are there any assets that these companies own that could be used as collateral? What measures are in place to make sure that terms and conditions of contracts are followed?”

Ndlovu said BPRA felt that although most of the processes to do with selecting contractors took place in council boardrooms, residents should be informed about tender processes in order to promote transparency.

“There was need for residents’ involvement and strengthened oversight mechanisms as well as providing checks and balances during the bidding process, contract designing as well as provide monitoring and evaluation mechanisms of projects, especially on contracts worth millions of ratepayers’ money,” he said.

BPRA said if there was transparency in the awarding of contracts by the BCC, it would avert scenarios where some projects were abandoned before they were completed.

Some of the projects that were abandoned by contractors in Bulawayo before completion include the Magwegwe extension and the Egodini Mall development.

Ndlovu said transparency in awarding contracts would also guard against the awarding of tenders to non-existent or briefcase companies.

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