Harare councillors press for special council meeting on Pomona

HARARE – Harare councillors have requested to meet for a special council meeting to discuss and review the widely condemned US$344 million Pomona waste-to-energy deal.

In a signed motion, the 31 Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) councillors on Wednesday wrote to Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume pushing for a special council meeting to discuss the contract awarded to Geogenix BV, a company registered in the Netherlands but owned by an Albanian businessman who is accused of corruption in his home country.

In their letter, the councillors said: “We are of the view that the deal is, as we will show, of no benefit to the city and its ratepayers.

“The deal, in our respectful view, will not solve the challenges associated with refuse collection but worsen them. Many private players who have been helping the city with refuse collection have since withdrawn.”

The 30-year contract giving Geogenix control of the Pomona waste dumpsite was rushed through council after mayor Jacob Mafume was suspended an more than two dozen opposition councillors had been recalled.

According to the contract, the City of Harare will pay Geogenix BV US$40 per tonne of waste delivered. The stipulated daily delivery is at least 550 tonnes or a minimum 200,750 tonnes per year – translating to US$8.03 million for the company in the first year.

By the second year, the daily tonnage will rise to 650; going up to 750 in the third year; 850 in the fourth year and 1,000 tonnes per day at the start of the fifth year, meaning Harare will pay Geogenix BV a minimum US$14.6 million annually starting in 2027 until 2052.

Should Harare fail to meet the minimum waste quantities, the city will still be invoiced as though it made the deliveries.

Meanwhile, a private waste collector, Clean City, has suspended its disposal services citing “recent change in the terms of trade at the Pomona waste facilities.” It said its household and corporate clients are unable to afford Geogenix’s charges at Pomona.

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