Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni has said council did not reject the deal in which African Sun Limited offered to buy part of the Harare Gardens land for $1,7 million, but the issue was “simply” referred back to the finance and development committee for fine tuning following concerns raised by some councillors.
Clr Manyenyeni said the referral of the matter to the sponsoring committee, was a normal due diligence process done by council to consider pros and cons of an initiative before accepting or rejecting it.
“There is talk around town that the deal has been blocked but that is not correct. As we speak, that deal has been taken back to the finance committee who are the sponsors of the deal.
“If they feel the deal is a lucrative one and it will benefit the city, it can still be improved and brought back to full council for consideration. If they feel it is not good for the city, then they can withdraw it. But that case is not closed as many people were made to believe. It was referred to the committee for fine tuning,” he said.
Clr Manyenyeni said that the case was still being considered and council had the powers to approve, modify or decline the offer after careful consideration.
He said the deal appeared to be a positive one with benefits, but there were also concerns associated with it, calling for the referral of the matter back to the sponsoring committee.
Harare Acting Town Clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube said she could not comment on the decision of the councillors.
“I cannot give you a statement on that because we are the ones who referred the proposal to council.
“Commenting on the decision of council will be unprocedural,” she said.
The land in question is closer to Crowne Plaza Hotel and is attached to the Harare Gardens.
The hotel wants to build a multimillion-dollar conference centre on the piece of land.
According to the recent minutes of the Finance Committee meeting circulated among councillors in a special council meeting on Wednesday last week, the deal could see council earning $200 000 annually.
The hotel also offered to revamp Harare Gardens to meet international standards.
African Sun Limited intended to expand Crowne Plaza Hotel to include a state-of the-art 10 000-seater conference centre.
It also wanted to establish an international themed open-air restaurant and a bar.
The hotel offered to refurbish Les Brown Swimming Pool and the car park.
Stakeholders in the tourism industry say Zimbabwe is losing potential tourism revenue because it does not have facilities to host major conferences.
This has seen such conferences being hosted by South Africa which has numerous such facilities.
African Sun Limited wants to buy two hectares out of Harare Gardens’ 17,5 hectares.
The piece of land it wants to buy stretches north into Harare Gardens covering Les Brown Swimming Pool.