The decision by Harare City Councillors — led by Councillor Jacob Mafume — to suspend the Pomona waste to energy deal amounts to cheap political grandstanding at the expense of the country, Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said yesterday.
In a statement, Minister Moyo said all legal procedures were followed in concluding the deal hence the project will continue unless stopped by judicial action.
“We understand that on June 2, 2022, a resolution was passed by Harare City Councillors, led by Councillor J. Mafume, to suspend the Pomona waste to energy joint venture agreement between the City of Harare and the investor, Geogenix BV.
“With respect to the project, we wish to advise that all procedures were followed. The city and the investor agreed on terms as to how to execute the joint venture while the investment appraisal was done by the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) and also recommended to the Joint Venture Committee.”
Minister Moyo said all recommendations from this process went to Cabinet, which is the highest executive authority, for approval and a lower organ cannot violate the principle of subsidiarity.
“Following Cabinet’s approval, the joint venture agreement was closely analysed by Government lawyers, including the Attorney General’s office, before it was signed.
“It is confounding that a group of councillors have decided to, once again, appraise this project and in the process causing needless delays and, with it, the risk of jeopardising investor appetite,” he said.
Minister Moyo said the waste management project would, in fact, among other benefits, create employment, generate power and assist in refuse management.
“Government wishes to advise that, in consummating this transaction, rigorous processes to ensure that council and the country at large derive maximum benefits were undertaken.
“We condemn this conduct which amounts to cheap political grandstanding at the expense of the country and it is therefore necessary to state that the project will not be stopped unless done so by judicial action,” he said.
Minister Moyo said the matter was sub judice as some members who participated in the meeting were mentioned in the legal papers.
“It is surprising that councillors went ahead to deliberate on the matter and some members in the city and the ministry are being sued.
“We wonder why the Chamber Secretary and a lawyer would proceed to make such a decision,” he said.
The Pomona dumpsite waste-to-energy project is expected to generate between 22 to 25 megawatts of electricity.
Apart from electricity generation, the project is also projected to create at least 300 jobs, boost economic growth and reduce the country’s import bill for electricity with the investor already exploring other investment opportunities in the country.
Millions of dollars of potential revenue were being lost annually as most of the waste being generated at the dumpsite was being carried and processed in neighbouring countries including South Africa.
The management of Pomona has been a thorn in the flesh over the past decades with pollution having become more of a habit rather than an event.
The last fire outbreak at the dumpsite lasted at least 16 days risking the health of residents who were affected by the pollution.
Council’s failure to collect and properly treat solid waste was largely contributing to flooding, air pollution and public health issues such as respiratory ailments, diarrhoea and dengue fever.
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