Ray Bande Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT is satisfied with the progress and quality of repair works in Cyclone Idai-ravaged infrastructure in Chimanimani and Chipinge where Masimba Holdings has been contracted to do the work, said Manicaland provincial road engineer Atherton Zindoga.
Engineer Zindoga was responding to a story recently published in The Manica Post which quoted traditional leaders Chief Raymond Saurombe, Chief Walter Chikukwa and village head Elizabeth Mutingwende, voicing concern on refurbishment works being carried out by Masimba Holdings.
“We are here because of the article that was published in one of our newspapers. Ourselves and the Minister of State we thought we should address some of the issues that were raised by the media.
The client is the one who hires the contractor to do the job. In this particular case the Government of Zimbabwe, from the President, the ministers and us the general public.
“Not everyone can go on site and give instructions to the contractor. The instructions come from one person, a client’s representative. The client’s representative in this case it is the provincial road engineer. I think it is clear that we are all the clients but one person, the provincial road engineer can talk to the client,” Mr Zindoga told journalists during a tour of projects being undertaken by Masimba Holdings in Chimanimani.
He added: “On the issue of poor workmanship raised in the article, we may agree that there could be mistakes here and there in any given task but poor workmanship issues can only be managed by the client’s representative. Client’s representative has a team of specialists headed by resident engineers.
“He comes and supervises with a team of surveyors and materials officer who make up one team of quality control. Leave the issue of poor workmanship to the provincial roads engineer. If you have a challenge with what is going on come to us and we can then look into the issue. Some of the people who talk about poor workmanship are not qualified to do so.”
The engineer said Masimba Holdings were on course to meet the targets.
He said Government was happy with the work that Masimba Holdings had carried out in the district.
On the issue of questionable company credentials, Engineer Zindoga said the contractor was well known in Zimbabwe.
“Our contractor is in Category A. This is the top class of contractors’ membership and a rigorous check was done before they were given contracts. They were selected according to procedures laid down by Government. Masimba is one of the top contractors in Zimbabwe and we are happy with the quality of work they are doing.
“We signed a contract with the contractor in August last year. We wanted them to construct and repair this road from Skyline to Chimanimani. The expected period of completion is two months from today and we still think it can be completed on time,” he said.
On the issue of theft of construction material that was reportedly rampant at Masimba Holdings resulting in the resale of material at subsidised rates to members of the public, the company’s chief executive, Mr Canada Malunga, said:
“By and large, we are proud of the work that the men and women of Masimba have done here in Chimanimani. If for whatever reason anybody has stolen five bags of cement or 20 litres of diesel, we have got procedures and systems that are designed to mitigate the risks.”
In the article that was recently published by the newspaper, Masimba Holdings came under criticism from some stakeholders for alleged shoddy workmanship in the reconstruction of Cyclone Idai-damaged infrastructure – which has seen some structures developing cracks even before completion.
A litany of corruption allegations against one of the Masimba Holdings staff members were also made.