Grave problem

The Bulawayo City Council has been forced to put out tenders for grave diggers for a third time because bids from prospective contractors on the first occasion were too high and there was a mix-up on the closing dates in the second, according to director of health services Zanele Hwalima.

Hwalima was responding to queries about why the council was inviting tenders for a third time for a simple task such as grave digging and maintenance of cemeteries.

The municipality is inviting bids from small to medium-size contractors to dig graves and maintain its five cemeteries at Luveve, Hyde Park, West Park, Lady Stanley and Athlone.

Applicants pay a non-refundable fee of $50 000 plus a bid security of $500 000.

Some prospective bidders have been complaining about why the council was failing to award the contract after two previous attempts.

"Whose money is being wasted to flight all these adverts since the Bulawayo City Council is in financial dire straits?" asked one bidder. "Does that mean that Bulawayo has no expertise for this kind of project?"

Hwalima said bids for the first tender had been too high and council had turned them down. She said the second tender had been declared null and void after it was discovered that closing dates in the advertisement and those on the tender documents were different.

The current tender closes on June 22.

Last year the council had problems with a contractor who was not able to dig enough graves. The municipality said on July 20, for example, only three graves were ready when there were supposed to be 14 burials.

At the time, the council said, it required at least 700 graves a month at Luveve and 250 graves a month at West Park and Athlone cemeteries

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