Norton is set to have a 200ML water treatment plant built to alleviate water shortages after the Town Council signed an agreement with a shady foreign constructor called Hydromart.
NTC Spokesperson Engineer Reggie Gavara said construction of the first phase will be in 18 months.
“The long-awaited Partnership Agreement between Norton Town Council and Hydromart of the construction of the 200ML water treatment plant was finally signed at the council chamber”.
“The whole agreement is about securing the completion of the development of a water treatment plant”.
Norton has had a previous project to build a water plant but it died out due to lack of funding after the government, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), failed to pay the constructor.
The current project with Hydromart has already been “approved and enabled by the government through the Ministry of Finance (Joint Ventures Unit) and the parent Ministry of Local Government”, said Gavara.
Hydromart is expected to be on site after 12 weeks during which time they will be mobilizing for resources.
The construction of the first phase of the plant will reportedly be completed in 18 months.
However, the absence of any footprints of the company on the internet or physically in the country has led to fear of another bogus agreement with many residents in Norton expressing fears of elitist corruption cartels.
Hydromart’s offices could not be ascertained and its track record remains a mystery raising fears of a scenario like the one where the Cold Storage Company of Zimbabwe (CCZ) was sold in a $130 million agreement with a dormant British company called Boustead.
Intratrek’s multi-million-dollar Gwanda solar contract with the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) is also one of the latest in the country’s history of shady public projects that went nowhere.
Norton legislator Temba Mliswa said he was happy with the development but was also cautious.
“We have had many agreements as a country but where we fail is at the implementation stage”
An expert in the field of water plants has however dismissed the apprehension saying the constructor has previously done the same projects in neighboring countries.
“Hydromart is a white-owned company that has done several projects in South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia”, he said.
The dormitory town has been facing water challenges for some time despite being home to two lakes, Darwendale and Chivero.
The latter is used by Harare which has been providing water to Norton and the other dormitory town, Chitungwiza.
Norton residents recently threatened to march against the Norton Town Council, led by Mr. Kizito Muhomba, accusing it of dereliction of duty and failing to provide a commensurate service despite receiving rate payments.