Mphoko’s SA investors dodgy

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SOUTH African investors who expressed interest in the construction of Gwayi-Shangani Dam in Matabeleland North after meeting Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko over the project last week do not have a traceable history in dam construction, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

Hazel Ndebele/ Elias Mambo

The investors — Kinfedi, Hamon (Pvt) Ltd and Thaga Engineering — are interested in the project which is currently being undertaken by China International Water and Electric (CIWE). CIWE has failed to make meaningful progress due to funding constraints. But it has emerged that the investors are in fact acting as a third party to bring in a reputable company, and this could immensely drive costs.

Investigations revealed that Kinfedi, which was registered in 1998, was deregistered in May 2011. In 2011, it commenced the process of having the deregistration cancelled.

The company does not have significant projects in its portfolio while key financials are not available on South Africa’s companies search website.

According to the website, Kinfedi was supposed to file its accounts on or before September 20 in 2013.

“Kinfedi is a primary co-operative business incorporated in South Africa on August 24 1998. Their business is recorded as ‘in business’. It is registered as a land development and construction company,” reads the company profile.

“It is not part of a group, the company has no filed accounts and was incorporated 18 years ago.”

Hamon Private Limited specialises in the fields of cooling systems and air quality systems. Hamon’s website does not show any history of having worked in dam construction except that the company is graded 7ME on the Construction Industry Development Board of South Africa (CIDB) accreditation. This means that the company is also considered for public sector mechanical engineering.

No information was found on Thaga Engineering company except that it is registered and in business in South Africa.

In a clear indication that the company lacks the capacity to handle a massive project like dam building, Felix Maziya, chief executive of Kinfedi, said they have Italian partners who have a commendable track record and are ready to start work.

“Kinfedi is an enabler to local partners and we look into challenges the region is facing in terms of infrastructure and we are bringing in strong players who have the capacity to develop the area,” he said.

“We have Italian partners CMC who are the third largest construction company in the world and have a hefty balance sheet. Our other partner is Allied International which is among the top five world piping manufacturers.”

CMC di Ravenna was the main contractor in the building of Mazvikadei Dam in Mashonaland West, as well as bigger dam projects in Algeria, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania.

Close to US$90 million is reportedly required to complete the project, touted as a long-term solution to Bulawayo’s perennial water shortage.

South Africa’s companies search says its goal is to ensure company transparency and for individuals intending to work with South African companies to know exactly who they are dealing with.

“Over a million people visit www.companies-southafrica.com each month to carry out due diligence, perform checks on customers and suppliers, research competitors, or just to watch their own company,” reads the website.

According to an article published in state media, Zimbabwean consultants Duke Thubelihle Ncube and Darryn Nyatanga, both from an unknown company called GBI Ltd, identified the investors and took them to Mphoko’s office.

Gwayi-Shangani Dam has remained in limbo for years due to a lack of funding. Mphoko met the prospective contractors on a visit to the dam site in Gwayi last week. During his visit Mphoko said the project was critical to the Matabeleland region and the country as a whole as it would create a greenbelt as well as feed into Bulawayo’s industrial growth.

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