Kunzvi Dam construction hits legal obstacles

CONSTRUCTION of Kunzvi Dam remains a dream for the contractors as no legal documentation has been signed by government and private players.

The delay in crafting the legal instrument which would safeguard all interests has resulted in the delay in the actual work on the dam expected to end current water challenges for Harare.

Work on the mega dam, supposed to have started in August, but will now commence next year after all legal requirements have been cleared.

John Mapondera, chairperson of the Kunzvi water development project, told the Daily News that companies contracted to construct the dam, which is expected to produce 487 million litres a day, are still waiting for finalisation of legal documents for the project.

“We are waiting for finalisation of legal issues so that the project is safeguarded legally. The investors are ready to go, we hope we are going to hit the ground by February,” he said.

According to Mapondera, funding for the dam’s construction which is expected to ease water woes currently bedevilling Harare City Council is available.

“We have the funds, but we are only held by the legal requirements to ensure that no one is prejudiced,” Mapondera said.

The project is expected to cost more than $400 million.

Vinci of France and Group Five of South Africa have been engaged as the major contractors.

The two contractors, together with Locan Holdings (local), Development Bank of Southern Africa, Bigen (South Africa), Okada (Nigeria) and Swede Water, form the funding partners.

If the dam is finally built, Kunzvi water is likely to be cheaper for residents and the city because it needs fewer treatment chemicals, thus according to Mapondera.

Currently, council uses more than eight chemicals to treat its water which is seriously polluted.

The purification process is costing the local authority more than $3 million every month.

Although work on the project should have commenced by now, Mapondera remain optimistic that it will not miss its finishing deadline of 2015.

In August when the Daily News visited the dam site in company of the constructing teams, there was no road access to the site with indication that the actual construction was scheduled to start in September.

But until last week, Mapondera said no work had been done expect identification of the appropriate route by local engineers.

Mapondera said the his corporation will operate the dam and its ancillary facilities for 30 years during which period it is expected to recover its investment before ceding the dam to Government.

Mapondera however said the local authority should now start rehabilitate it water distribution network to ensure that when water from Kunzvi finally arrives, it will not be lost in the distribution line.

The Kunzvi project has had many false starts. Timelines have been given before but nothing has materialised. - Xolisani Ncube

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