Put your house in order, SPB tells council

Michael Chideme

Michael Chideme

Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter—
The State Procurement Board (SPB) has asked Harare City Council to put its house in order before it can award the tender to deliver and install prepaid water meters, associated connections and meter management systems ahead of a city wide roll out. The city sent names of five contractors it used during the pilot project to SPB after completing its internal adjudication process, but SPB told the city to refine its documents.

Sources close to the tender claim that some officials from SPB were trying to force the city to include a company which was not part of the five names submitted.

City authorities selected Utility Systems, Syvern Investments, Hukoshwa, Industrial Chemical and Tricon to undertake the programme.

At least 28 companies made bids for the tender.

Harare City Council corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said council was still waiting for SPB’s decision.

“We are on course. We have submitted our documents to SPB. We are waiting for them to certify the documents,” he said.

The installation of prepaid meters has been met with resistance from residents’ associations. The city has dismissed the associations as not representing the people.

Government has also given local authorities the green light to install the meters to ensure everyone pays for water consumption.

Recently, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa urged local authorities to install pre-paid water meters to help revenue collection.

“Plumtree should be smaller than Rusape, but it is leading by the example we want all local authorities to follow.

“Local authorities should be able to meet the basic needs that we hold dear to our hearts. I consider it unethical for local authorities to deprive people of basic needs,” he said.

To cushion disadvantaged residents, Harare plans to introduce a rate limiter, which blocks water when one fails to recharge, but will allow water to continue running at reduced pressure.

Authorities say the system helps curb treated water theft and will boost revenue inflows by ensuring consumers pay for water upfront.

There are over 250 000 properties in Harare requiring prepaid water meters.

The city early this year revealed that more than 85 000 properties have not paid a cent in rates to the cash-strapped council since dollarisation in 2013 resulting in debts owed to council ballooning to over $600 million.

The non-payment of bills continues to impact negatively on service delivery.

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  • Wilson Magaya

    A great opportunity to build industry in Harare rather than will milk the city through brief case businesses. A city wide roll out of prepaid meters would support whole industry. We can develop a whole ecosystem of service delivery through the Anchor Institute (City of Harare). It is within your power. An ecosystem of engineering companies, software development to monitor use and record keeping, Drone services, high speed internet and Research and Development to answer the questions: What will the needs of the city be in the short term, medium term and long term? is the technology suitable, does it add value to service delivery? WHAT TECHNOLOGICAL TRENDS ARE TAKING PLACE THAT WE NEED TO MONITOR GLOBALLY? etc etc….

    We are on the right path however we need to think big and act locally to solve our challenges rather than take ad hoc solutions that are short term and extractive in nature. Yes City of Harare needs to put its house in order at many levels…..”Nyika Vanhu, Musha Matare” this statement, as old as our heritage means that Zimbabwe includes everyone even the current crop of city employees…Its time we build capacity within the city and support the people there to deliver world class solutions….WE NEED TO HAVE A HOLISTIC APPROACH…

  • eliah

    This is another bigger joke, last time the Council Comms guy was telling us that the roll out was on course and today he repeats it again that its on course yet there has been a hiccup at SPB. Why also does SPB have a thin memory as not so long ago one of their own was fired by the President .
    Pse City Council, SPB we need these pre-paid meters pronto do not play games with this issue as some of us have been waiting since April 2016 and we are getting exesperated now.

  • Greeforce

    Waste of resources