HARARE – Local Government minister July Moyo has slammed moves by the Harare City Council to cancel the controversial Pomona dumpsite contract awarded to GeoGenix B.V, saying the agreement has been cast in stone by Cabinet approval and cannot be torpedoed by a local authority.
In turn, Harare City Council Mayor Jacob Mafume says the agreement is between council and the investor and council has the authority to exercise its own discretion.
Mafume said the local authority will forge ahead after a full council special meeting held yesterday begun steps to cancel the deal by adopting three motions.
Firstly to appoint a special committee to investigate the entire waste-to-energy contract.
The councillors also adopted a second motion to suspend the contract between Geogenix and City of Harare pending the findings of the committee.
Thirdly, the councillors upheld a motion to withdraw opposition to the court application made by Member of Parliament Allan Markham and residents challenging the Pomona deal.
Moyo immediately fired shots at the local authority in a press statement arguing that the resolution passed by Harare City Councillors, led by Mafume to suspend the Pomona Waste to Energy Joint Venture Agreement between the City of Harare and the investor, Geogenix B.V would not hold water as it had been approved by Cabinet.
“It is surprising that Councillors went ahead to deliberate on the matter and some members in the City and the Ministry are being sued. We wonder why the Chamber Secretary and a lawyer would proceed to make such a decision,” Moyo said.
“With respect to the project, we wish to advise that all procedures were followed. The City and the investor agreed on terms as to how to execute the joint venture while the investment appraisal was done by the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) and also recommended to the Joint Venture Committee. All the recommendations from this process went to Cabinet, which is the highest executive authority, for approval and a lower organ cannot violate the principle of subsidiarity.”
“Following Cabinet’s approval, the joint venture agreement was closely analysed by Government lawyers, including the Attorney General’s office before it was signed.”
The waste management project, amongst other benefits, will create employment, generate power and assist in refuse management, Moyo said.
“It is confounding that a group of councillors have decided to, once again, appraise this project and in the process causing needless delays and, with it, the risk of jeopardising investor appetite.”
Reached for comment Mafume told Zim Morning Post that Moyo’s statements were offside.
“We are governed by processes and procedures. It’s a council contract. Ccouncil has spoken on the matter, we move. Anyone who challenges a council resolution knows what to do. We are not their lawyers,” he said.
Earlier this week Community Water Alliance had petitioned the City of Harare to terminate the controversial Pomona waste management deal in the interest of good public administration while the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association petitioned the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the agreement.