Source: Mpumalanga housing project gets node – NewsDay Zimbabwe
BY SILAS NKALA
THE Hwange Local Board (HLB) is ready to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) to construct more than 500 houses in Mpumalanga suburb for the power utility’s employees.
This comes after a HLB lawsuit against ZPC over a ZPC $6 million debt was recently removed from the court roll on a technicality.
HLB filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an order compelling the power company to settle a $6 086 135,93 outstanding debt to the council.
The council submitted that the debt should be paid with 6% interest in terms of the Urban Councils Act until the date of full payment.
Indications are that the debt has been outstanding and accumulating in excess of 25 years, and that the rates have been reviewed annually with the latest being January 20.
ZPC objected to the rate reviews but has not been paying the full bill resulting in it accruing arrears.
In the new developments, HLB town secretary Ndumiso Mdlalose said the local authority was prepared to play its part in the construction of houses to accommodate ZPC’s workforce which was being relocated from Ingagula suburb.
Council reports show that Ingagula is exposed to pollution due to its proximity to Hwange Thermal Power Station.
“Our position with regards to the ZPC housing project hasn’t changed.
“We are aware of the importance of this project, that’s why we didn’t hesitate to allocate them land,” Mdlalose said.
“We are committed to seeing this project through because it means a lot to the community and the country as a whole.
“We are also ready to play our role as a local authority.”
HLB will oversee the approval of plans as well as legal compliance of the project.
ZPC is reportedly expediting the signing of MoUs with parties involved in the development of the new settlement.
According to a council report, ZPC project executive, Engineer Fanuel Mavhondo said it was important to kick-start preparations for the construction of houses and social amenities as soon as possible.
This is meant to beat the deadline for the commissioning of the Hwange Thermal Power Station expansion project.
“We can’t sit and see this infrastructure worth US$1,5 billion lying idle because we don’t have a place to settle those that will be operating there,” Mavhondo said.
“We need to ensure that ZPC concludes memorandum of agreements with the local authority (HLB) and Zinwa. ZENT (ZESA Enterprise) is coming to assist in the construction of the houses on behalf of ZPC.”
ZENT is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ZESA Holdings, which provides engineering solutions to Zesa Holdings subsidiaries.
Mavhondo said the Hwange Power Station expansion project was 72% complete, with Unit 7 expected to be operational in October 2022.
“Commissioning of Unit 7 is expected to take place three months prior to the commercial operation date and by then operations and maintenance staff housing will be required,” he said.