By Staff Reporter
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s attempt to milk the propaganda from the rehabilitation of the flats in Mbare is falling flat on its face with reports suggesting the company contracted by government and the Harare City Council, FCG Singapore, ceased operations a month ago.
A report by the privately owned NewsDay newspaper quotes a worker who said;
“We ceased painting in mid-May, there is no any activity here. There are no buckets of paint for us to use. The government is being deceived. “Officials are sitting there in their offices thinking work is going on, but we are spending the whole day seated. There is no progress.
Mnangagwa visited the site last month amid pomp and fanfare but according to the employees, work ceased soon after the visit. The workers are unhappy about working without contracts, without protective clothes and have not been paid their salaries for April and May.
“We told the manager that we have been in the construction industry for some time and it was a norm to have a contract agreement, which he denied us.
“We further asked him for our pay-day and he promised that we would get our salaries every first day of the month. What we want now is just our money. We have families to look after,” he said.
The chairperson of FCG Singapore Gabrielle Arezio is quoted by NewsDay saying;
“I am following up on that matter. We were instructed to work on the plumbing systems. When the President visited Matapi Flats, he told us to repair the toilets and the bathrooms.
“These are in a bad state. We are currently sourcing materials. After that, we will continue with the exterior and interior paintings.”
FCG managing director Francis Mambo is also quoted claiming; “everyone was paid for all these months, except for one month, which is May. People must also consider that it is charity work that we are doing and some companies do not pay for such, but we are paying,” he said.
“We were directed to concentrate more on the sewer systems. If you visit Matapi you can see that the exterior is beautiful but the sewage system is bad. It is bursting. So, we had to work on that. By next week we should be completing another block,” Mambo added.
The refurbishment of the flats involves the painting of buildings, rehabilitation of the sewer and water system. Steel doors and broken windows are also meant to be replaced.
During the tour last month Mnangagwa inexplicably left apparently complaining of the choking smell from the wet paint and advised officials this could affect residents occupying the flats. He said he was satisfied with the progress adding that all the blocks in Mbare would be refurbished.
“Remember that last year one block was burnt, I visited the place and promised residents there that I will look into the renovation of that block as well as the rest around that place,” he said.
“When I visited the place, I discovered that they (flats) were very dilapidated so I made arrangements with the company that you saw there who have so far attended to three or four blocks. They are going to all of the blocks around there.
“It was an issue of me inspecting progress to satisfy myself that what I asked them to do is what they are doing. We will revamp and renovate those places.” Nehanda Radio