The Sunday Mail
CONSTRUCTION of the new Parliament Building in Mt Hampden will begin in June as experts finalise baseline and architectural surveys to establish site suitability.
Secretary for Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Engineer George Mlilo, said, “We have a team of Chinese experts in the country who are conducting soil tests on the site ahead of the beginning of construction. The tests will seek to establish whether the soil type on the site is able to support the kind of structure we intend to construct.
“Once the tests are completed, which we expect anytime soon, then construction will begin. We expect proper construction work to begin by June this year.”
The new Parliament Building will accommodate 500 legislators compared to the current building which is overcrowded by 270 National Assembly representatives and 93 Senators.
The relocation of Parliament will spur Mt Hampden’s local economy as other structures and services such as banking halls, residential developments, shopping malls, hotels and Government buildings will also be built.
Zimbabwe has secured US$101 million for the construction of the building with the Chinese government availing US$90 million.
‘‘The other US$11 million will be injected by Zimbabwe’s Government for offsite infrastructure such as residential areas and shopping centres.
Urban planning expert Mr Percy Toriro said, “Zimbabweans must strategically position themselves to do infrastructure development work as either main contractors, or sub-contractors.
“There are a number of advantages that come with the new site. First, the proposed site is free from the congestion and other limitations associated with the city centre location. Second, there is an opportunity to come up with other developments in Mount Hampden since there is ample land for development …
“There is concern that the City of Harare has run out of land for development and this move opens up a new frontier for commercial, industrial, and other urban development land needs. Zimbabweans must now strategically position themselves to do infrastructure development work as either main contractors, or come in as sub-contractors. A development of that nature and magnitude presents lots of opportunities that we must be on the look-out for.”
The new Parliament Building is one of 12 mega-deals signed between China and Zimbabwe last year.
The deals cover key sectors such as infrastructure, telecommunications and energy.
In 2007, the Chinese government funded construction of a new parliament building in Lesotho at a cost of US$9 million through Shandong Yantai Construction Company. The building was completed in 2012.