From Patrick Chitumba in Victoria Falls
The expansion of the Victoria Falls District Hospital and its International Airport is underway as the resort town faces a major facelift ahead of the United Nations
World Tourism Organisation General Assembly next year.
However, residents and local companies have expressed disappointment that they have been overlooked in the construction works.
The hospital will be built by a group of companies from Bulawayo.
Government has pumped in US$6 million towards the expansion works.
The companies have already started putting their equipment on site.
A resident said: “The Tender document on the expansion exercise of the hospital was published in the weekly newspaper, Sunday News, and we were only given about four days to travel to Bulawayo, buy the tender application forms, come back to Victoria Falls, consult and look for quotations before returning the documents to Bulawayo.
“It is the general feeling among residents and companies here that beneficiaries of the project, the tender documents should have been sold at the hospital rather than Bulawayo.”
The UNWTO local organising committeechairperson Mayor Nkosilathi Jiyane also added his voice against the tender processes.
“Things have changed over the years, Victoria Falls has grown in population and in companies providing services such as construction.
“In this light it is rather sad that local companies are being sidelined at the expense of outsiders,” he said.
“The tendering process was very poorly done, it favored companies from Bulawayo.”
Zinwa has also started laying pipes that would take water to the airport from the Zambezi River during the construction period. The project will cost US$150 million for the expansion of the runway, a new terminal and tower. Government has also released US$2,5 million and US$822 000 for the rehabilitation of trunk and council roads respectively.
A further US$15 million has been availed for the upgrading of a water reticulation system including upgrading of the sewer plant, construction of a 1 000 cubic metre-reservoir for Mkhosana and the rehabilitation and expansion of sewer ponds.