LACK of funding is reportedly stalling progress at the US$121 million Gwayi Shangani Dam, with only 39% of the project funds having been expended to date, while government is failing to secure more to complete it.
BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
This was disclosed by Gwayi Shangani Dam project assistant engineer Lucio Chayeruka last week during a tour of the project by journalists, which was organised by Matabeleland civic society organisations.
Chayeruka said failure to release more funds for the project had resulted in the contractor going back to China in January, which had further stalled the completion of the project.
The Gwayi Shangani Dam is considered to be the panacea to Bulawayo’s serious water problems which have seen the city going for weeks without water coming out of taps. Residents have to rely on borehole water, while others resort to unsafe water sources.
In 2016, China International Water and Electric Corporation, which is the contractor, suspended operations at the dam due to lack of funding.
“This dam is a US$121 million project. Of the US$121 million, we have so far consumed about 39% of the money,” Chayeruka said.
“The issue here is lack of funding. As you can see, we have all the materials in place. The only material that we need to buy is cement and when all funding has been put in place the dam will only take one year to be completed.”
He said after the contractor returned to China, nothing much was done at the project.
“The contractor is expected to come back again in January next year to continue with the construction of the dam,” Chayeruka said.
Matabeleland Collective chairman Phanuel Sibanda said a new environmental impact assessment (EIA) was supposed to be signed because the current one had become void. “Planning and research for the pipeline still has to be done. EIAs expire after two years and thereafter must be renewed. The last EIA was done in 2010,” Sibanda said.
He said redesigning of the pipeline needed to be done, which meant that there was need for a new bill of quantities.
“So it means it will be difficult to have an actual figure of the total cost for the bridge if an update has not been made,” he said.
Sibanda said the return of the contractor in January would not guarantee that the project would continue as it would be affected by the onset of the rainy season.
The Gwayi Shangani Dam is supposed to supply Cowdray Park and other areas of Bulawayo.