HomeBusiness DigestBulawayo contractors being kept alive by private developers

Bulawayo contractors being kept alive by private developers


By our own correspondent

BULAWAYO – INDIVIDUALS in Bulawayo are keeping the construction industry afloat as government, industry and the local authority have stopped property development

projects due to financial constraints.

According to the latest council minutes, residents submitted building plans worth more than $3 billion to the local authority for approval in March, with nothing coming from government, industry and the municipality. March’s submitted plans brought the total value of building plans approved by Bulawayo City Council to nearly $10,5 billion since the beginning of the year. The figure is above half the nearly $19 billion annual total for last year.

Of the 152 plans submitted in March, the most expensive development is for a new house and cottage to be built in Marvel at an estimated cost of $250,870 million.

Meanwhile, private contractors are likely to get more business once a joint Old Mutual Properties and Central African Building Society (CABS) project to build 1 500 low cost houses in the high-density suburbs of Pumula and Nkulumane suburbs takes off.

The local authority has accepted a proposal by the two institutions to build 750 units in each suburb. Old Mutual Properties will act as consultant and CABS as the financier of the project. The project is expected to slightly reduce Bulawayo’s housing backlog of over 60 000.

However, the local authority’s initiative to allow contractors to service stands without council involvement is not progressing well due to poor workmanship by some of the developers.

The city’s acting Director of Engineering Services, Simela Dube noted in the latest council minutes that the local authority was incurring unbudgeted expenses repairing leaks and burst pipes in areas that had not yet been handed over to council by contractors.

“In some areas water pipelines fittings such as valves, fire hydrants, chambers and marker posts are missing. An example is Cowdray Park Phase 3, which was developed by Zimal Promet (Pvt) Ltd. The horizontal and vertical alignment of the water pipeline is not according to council standards,” said Dube.

As a result, Dube said council workers were having problems in supplying water to residents in areas serviced by private contractors. Some of the affected suburbs include: Cowdray Park, Pumula, Wilsgrove, Mahatshula and Selbourne Park.

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