Partners delaying Harare Airport Road project, Augur

Mauritian-registered, Estonian company Augur Investments OU, which is building the Harare Airport Road project, says the development was largely delayed due to performance aspects of partners and service providers.

Staff Writer

“The Airport Road project has been delayed due to late performance aspects of both City of Harare and service providers such as Zesa who have not relocated services impeding on the construction corridor to date,” Augur local representative Michael van Blerk said this week.

The project was commissioned by the city, Local Government and Transport ministries and awarded national project status by the Finance ministry.

Augur was awarded the tender for the project after it formed a joint venture company, Sunshine Developments (Pvt) Ltd, with the Harare City Council. Council has a 30% stake while Augur holds 70%.

Harare town clerk Tendai Mahachi is a director of Sunshine Developments, which Van Blerk said has no connections with Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo as widely reported.

Van Blerk also said Augur has no links with a company called Harvest Net Investments reportedly associated with Chombo.

“It should be noted that Augur has worked at financial risk on several occasions and has been out of pocket at times as it is at present, and notably so on the recently completed sections of the highway which were required for the UNWTO Conference of October 2013,” Van Blerk said.

“The costing of the Airport highway is US$28,1 million for the 34 kilometres (dual carriage way and slip roads) and US$35,7 million for the five flyover bridges with US$4,8 million for professional fees and provisional sums to cover items such as street lighting, giving the project a total cost of US$68, 6 million before VAT.

“The costing of the Airport highway was independently adjudicated by local professional engineers who designed the road and flyover bridges to government and city requirements as well as approved by the City of Harare and full council. The local engineers confirmed that the proposed cost from Augur of US$1,6 million per kilometre is well below the regional price of between US$1,76 million and US$3,95 million per kilometre as was the parameter at the time of contract. These costs were approved at cabinet level which thereafter prescribed this a project of national status in 2009.”

Van Blerk said Augur, which is not involved in the Pomona Business Complex and the Bluffhill development as widely reported, undertook to complete the development with foreign and local resources.

“(South African company) Power Construction SA assisted with the pricing, but all work to date including design has been undertaken utilising local resources,” he said.

“Augur was mandated under a barter agreement to finance design and construct the highway to required specifications at a time when Zimbabwe was at peak hyper-inflation. Very little foreign investment was coming into the country and local road construction companies did not have the capacity to undertake the project or raise finance to do so.”

Companies and projects associated with Augur are West Property (Pvt) Ltd and Sunshine Developments, as well as the Warren Hills Golf Course Estate and the Mall of Zimbabwe.

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