Road plan to drag further Fidelity’s water project

LIVINGSTONE MARUFU

Government’s plan to construct a road interchange at the Mbudzi roundabout in the capital will force Fidelity Life Assurance to change the design of its water works, a move likely to further delay the provision of water to Southview Park residents, it has been learnt.

Fidelity has been in the eye of a storm after failing to deliver water to residents, who bought residential stands at its Southview Park housing project, since December 2018.

Melanie Gumbo, the general manager of Fidelity Life Assurance told Business Times that the project was likely to be delayed further.

“We have been informed that there is a road interchange that the government is planning or working on at the Mbudzi roundabout that will likely change our designs and invariably cause some delays and cost escalations,” Gumbo said.

She said the project was previously affected by acute shortages of foreign currency which resulted in contractors failing to import the special pipes needed for the project. The offsite water works mainly require the PVC and GRP pipes.

Fidelity requires US$5m for the construction of the water reservoirs and pipe connections. The cost, however, is likely to balloon due to the volatility of the exchange rate.

“It is true that the cost of imported materials escalated due to deterioration of the exchange rate. However, we had anticipated a worsening exchange rate, so far the outturn is reasonably close to what we had budgeted,” she said.

Southview is home to over 4000 residents who do not have access to water. This has left the area as a health hazard.

Few boreholes sunk are said to be inadequate.

It is understood that residents are buying expensive water from water suppliers, something which is proving to be costly.

Fidelity is said to have promised to have sunk additional boreholes and repaired old ones to avoid diseases like cholera and typhoid.

The funeral assurer had previously said it has engaged boreholes experts and drilled 12 boreholes.

The Residents Committee requested for additional four boreholes in April 2018 and these have since been drilled.

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed concern said the City of Harare should provide all off-site infrastructure especially where you have a nine kilometres water line cutting across private property.

However, it is said that the City of Harare has made it known to all private players wishing to participate in property development that it does not have the financial capacity to discharge its statutory obligation due to the many other responsibilities and demands on their resources.

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