Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
CONTRACTORS that provided services for the African Union Sports Council Region Five Under-20 Games held in Bulawayo in 2014 have appealed to President Mugabe to intervene so they can be paid for their work.
The contractors and suppliers’ representatives told Chronicle Sport yesterday that their only hope for payment now was on the intervention of the President.
“We believe the President is not aware of our plight or is being misinformed. We have consistently said that we offered our services for the love of our country, but we are now poorer than before. Some of us have since closed shop and we are being told the same story time and again,” said a suppliers’ representative.
Sport and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane has previously said his ministry would not release money for “poor service delivery” and accused some contractors of shoddy workmanship.
He said payments would only be made after a Cabinet ordered forensic audit report was finalised, but the suppliers are unhappy with his stance.
“Surely we can’t all suffer because of a few individuals that didn’t do their job. Those that didn’t live up to expectations must suffer the consequences. We had employees who are now jobless or have gone for months without pay, not because we don’t want to pay them, but because we have nothing. A number of us are facing lawsuits and our credit worthiness is now at zero. The audit exercise has been concluded and we ought to be paid now,” said the representative.
The suppliers are believed to be owed over $1.5 million by the Government.
Speaking in September 2014 while lighting the games’ torch at State House in Harare, President Mugabe indicated that Bulawayo was chosen to host the games as part of plans to revive the industrial capacity of the country’s second largest city.
The President said Bulawayo had suffered the most from sanctions having been established as an industrial city before the then Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
President Mugabe said even former Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister David Coltart had attempted to have the AUSC Games moved to Harare citing funding problems and most ministers appeared to share this view during Cabinet meetings.