Locals guaranteed 40pc contracts on Beitbridge highway project

Source: Locals guaranteed 40pc contracts on Beitbridge highway project – Sunday News Jun 4, 2017

Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
CHINESE firm, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) which will undertake the refurbishment of the 585 kilometre Beitbridge-Harare highway has reserved 40 percent of the work to local engineering and construction companies.

Zimbabwe Building Contractors Association (ZBCA) president Mr Obert Sibanda said CHEC had agreed to parcel out 40 percent of the work for the dualisation of the Harare-Beitbridge highway to local contractors.

Last year the Government signed a Concession Agreement and Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) framework with Geiger International and the project is valued at about $1 billion.

“As you are aware there is a contractor (CHEC) who was contracted by the financier, Geiger International to work on the Harare-Chirundu Road. We had negotiations with representatives of the main contractor to involve local contractors and they agreed in principle to reserve 40 percent of the work to locals but we are still to get clarity on what exactly that percentage will constitute of.

He said ZBCA would ensure that tenders would be awarded to deserving bidders.

“We are, however, going to ensure that proper channels and transparency is applied in the selection of local contractors. Those that will be shortlisted shouldn’t be suppliers but should be ready to do the actual construction work and we have already engaged the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development representatives of the contractor to that effect,” Mr Sibanda said.

Speaking at the launch of the initial phase of the Beitbridge-Harare highway last month Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said 300 000 jobs would be created through employing a raft of measures, including using local and international experts to supervise and inspect dualisation of the Beitbridge-Chirundu highway for it to meet regional and international standards.

Work on one of Zimbabwe’s busiest roads — carrying between 1 000 and 5 000 vehicles per day — was stalled by court processes in 2013 after the initial winner of the tender, Zimhighways, took Government to court for breach of contract.

The court case was, however, withdrawn and thus leading to the submission of fresh bids for the mega project, and the Austrian-based company won the tender or mandate on the second bite of the cherry. The Harare-Beitbridge Road is not only part of the trunk network in Zimbabwe, but also a major component of the north-south traffic corridor directly linking Harare and Pretoria, and providing landlocked Zambia with access to the Indian Ocean ports of Durban and Richards Bay in South Africa.