Senator Tshabangu Questions US$9 Million Procurement for Undelivered Toilets

July 1, 2024
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Opposition senator Sengezo Tshabangu has raised concerns over the Finance Ministry’s disbursement of US$9 million for the procurement of portable toilets and vests from a South African firm, despite significant delays and inflated costs.

Tshabangu, representing Matabeleland North province, questioned the decision during a parliamentary session. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) ordered 2,000 non-flushable toilets ahead of the August 2023 elections, costing US$7.6 million. However, the toilets, priced at an exorbitant US$3,800 each compared to the standard US$300 in South Africa, were only delivered in April 2024, eight months after the elections.

“My question is, why did the Ministry of Finance settle the full invoice amounting to over US$9 million on September 7, 2023, for the procurement of portable toilets and translucent light boxes for V11 forms that were never delivered?” Tshabangu asked.

Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Lovemore Matuke dismissed the allegations as unsubstantiated. “We cannot deal with information which is not substantiated. What the honourable Senator is saying has no proof,” Matuke stated.

Despite Matuke’s dismissal, Tshabangu insisted on the need for an investigation, emphasizing the importance of addressing public concerns over the use of taxpayer money. “We are talking about taxpayers’ money which is about US$9 million. If it is an allegation, ZEC has to respond,” Tshabangu argued.

Deputy Minister of Justice Robert Mazungunye requested more time to research the allegations. “At the moment, there are still allegations which are not substantiated as has been said already, but we may need to go and verify,” Mazungunye said.

The controversy highlights the ongoing scrutiny of government spending and the need for transparency in procurement processes.