Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Construction of the multi-million dollar Kunzvi Dam to the northeast of Harare is moving out of the planning stage, with the Chinese contractor expected to get on the site this week as the Second Republic moves into a critical upgrade of Harare’s water supply and push for infrastructural development in line with National Development Strategy 1.
Chinese company, China Nanchang Engineering, won the tender to construct the dam, planned years ago to not only expand Harare’s water supply, but have the dam sited where it can feed the dry eastern and northern suburbs where a water supply one day a week is a luxury and where many areas have had nothing for years.
In an interview, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) chief executive officer, Engineer Taurayi Maurukira said China Nanchang Engineering was expected to move on site this week.
“It’s due to take off this week, barring any challenges,” he said. “We expect the contractor to move on site this week and immediately start some works which include site establishment, that is mobilisation of heavy construction equipment and construction of site offices, including workers camps.
“There must also be commencement of dam foundation excavations. Everything being equal, including availability of sufficient funds, the dam is expected to be substantially completed by 2023.”
Kunzvi Dam will be built at the confluence of Nyaguwe and Nora rivers in Goromonzi district and is touted as a solution to Harare’s perennial water problems.
Eng Maurukira did not expect legal challenges from losing bidders to delay the project which he said would be a huge relief to Harare and its environs.
There have been concerns from one of the losing bidders, Sinohydro, which has argued that the winning bid of US$108 million by China Nanchang Engineering was irregular given that it lost despite the fact it had submitted the lowest bid of US$65 million.
Sinohydro had written to the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe raising a number of issues, including the fact that the winning company’s bid was higher than theirs.
They also accused Zinwa of flouting the enabling law which provides that an accounting officer could not after closure of bids, request information that change the substance of the bid or that has the effect of substantially altering anything that is the deciding factor in the evaluation of the bid
This was after Zinwa requested bidders to pay administrative fees for the regulator’s special procurement oversight committee which had to sit to consider the bids.
Commenting on the allegations by the losing bidder yesterday, Zinwa corporate communications and marketing manager Mrs Marjorie Munyonga said the adjudication of the bid was above board since all procedures were followed.
The procedures, she said, included floating of tender in a Government Gazette in February 2021, site visit with bidders, and evaluation of bids by the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe special procurement oversight committee before advising participants of bidders on August 2, 2021.
She said aggrieved bidders were supposed to file their objections within 14 days which had since lapsed.
“ZINWA wishes to advise that price alone is not the only factor that informs the decision to award a tender,” said Mrs Munyonga. “Tenders are evaluated using three broad categories namely the preliminary or mandatory stage, the technical evaluation and financials.”
Explaining how they adjudicated the project, PRAZ chief executive officer, Mr Clever Ruswa said a losing bidder was expected to lodge an appeal within 14 days with a prescribed amount for security of costs, which was not done in the present case.
He said Sinohydro instead wrote to PRAZ seeking for exemption from following provisions of the Act in order to pay the requisite fees for its appeal after the stipulated 14 days.
But the company was told the regulations could not be altered or waived. So legally there was no valid appeal before PRAZ.