Beitbridge deals latest blow on Alpha


Businessman Jonathan Gapare, whose company Alpha Construction lost its contract to develop and build houses in Cowdray Park in November, has suffered another terrible blow.

The Beitbridge Rural District Council has just withdrawn 425 stands from his company because of lack of progress.

Gapare, who was vying for the Chivi South seat currently held by Charles Majange, was last week disqualified from contesting the primary elections scheduled for this weekend, though six other candidates qualified.

He told a weekly newspaper that he had spent over $300 million on development projects in Chivi South over the past three years and was appealing against his exclusion to the National Elections Directorate.

Alpha Construction lost its contract to develop and build more than 500 houses in Cowdray Park after failing to complete the project in the stipulated two years. Though the company was awarded the job way back in 1996, the contract was only signed in 2001 giving the company until 2003 to complete the job but it had failed.

The company was ordered to vacate the site by November 16 but has stayed put saying it is challenging the withdrawal of the contract.

The Bulawayo City Council is currently carrying out an exercise to determine how many people bought stands from the company.

Documents possessed by The Insider show that the company sold a number of stands to multiple buyers. In at least two cases, two people have title deeds to the same house.

The situation in Beitbridge seems to be worse. According to a letter from the council dated 30 December 2004, the council withdrew its contract with Alpha on 14 December 2004 because the company had made very little progress in terms of putting up sewer and water reticulation as well as roads.

The council therefore resolved to withdraw all “medium-density stands and the undeveloped high density residential stands totaling 425”.

It however, allowed the company to complete work on 125 residential stands which it had already started developing.

But the council said Alpha should submit a programme of work for the servicing of the 125 stands before the end January 2005.

In a situation reminiscent of the company’s exploits in Cowdray Park, Alpha had developed 95 houses most of which were not connected to sewer.

“The few that are connected are on unapproved sewer reticulation, because Alpha did not bother calling for inspections from council personnel during the drain laying process, despite our numerous efforts to try and advise your company to call for such inspections,” the council’s letter says.

The council also said though it had advised Alpha to allocate houses to people on its waiting list, the company had allocated “houses to any applicant who approache(d) them with full cash, without making any communication with council”.

The council said Alpha had also allowed people to occupy houses without certificates of occupation, which was illegal.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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