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Sakunda Abandons Plans To Modernise Rufaro Stadium, Accuses Council Of "Toxicity"

Sakunda Abandons Plans To Modernise Rufaro Stadium, Accuses Council Of

Energy firm Sakunda Holdings has pulled out of the deal to partner with Harare City Council to refurbish Rufaro Stadium which is owned by the local authority.

In a letter dated 7 November 2022 and addressed to the City of Harare mayor, Jacob Mafume, Sakunda Holdings’ chief operating officer (COO), M Chitambo, said they were withdrawing from the partnership due to “untruthful and malicious allegations” emanating from the local authority. Wrote Chitambo:

Following our numerous unsuccessful requests to present to your office our final feasibility study report and proposed designs for the refurbishment of Rufaro Stadium, we write to express our gravest misgivings on the unfortunate events and communications emanating from your office.

We are shocked and disturbed by untruthful and malicious allegations that Sakunda intends to purchase Rufaro Stadium, which is a public asset.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and we believe you know that. These unfounded allegations are grounded on malice and a coordinated attempt to curtail our efforts to contribute to the revival and modernization of public infrastructure.

We wish to place it on record again that Sakunda did not have any commercial interests in this project, suffice to say that our participation in the same was entirely philanthropic, for the public good.

Consequently, we would like to hereby notify you of our immediate withdrawal from the partnership.

Chitambo said Sakunda Holdings entered into the partnership with Harare City Council as part of its social responsibility which also includes the sponsorship of Dynamos and Highlanders. He said:

Pursuant to our corporate social responsibility thrust which includes the sponsorship of Dynamos and Highlanders Football Clubs, Sakunda approached the Harare City Council with a proposal to enter into a partnership that sought to refurbish Rufaro Stadium and its precincts.

The proposal culminated in the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), whose framework required Sakunda and the Harare City Council to come up with a project feasibility study, following which a detailed technical agreement for the project would be concluded between the parties.

In fulfillment of this mutually shared vision, we were optimistic that after the presentation of the feasibility report and proposed designs to Council, parties would proceed to conclude the technical agreement and proceed to project implementation.

Chitambo claimed that a project management team comprising both Sakunda and City Council officials conducted research and benchmarked a stadium design for the refurbishment of Rufaro Stadium.

He said the team also visited stadiums in South Africa and engaged experts and suppliers who were involved in these projects, in order to enable them to understand what needed to be done.

The team also managed to carry out a full environmental and social impacts assessment and engaged all key and relevant stakeholders of the City of Harare for a full consultative meeting, according to Chitambo.

The Sakunda Holdings COO accused the Council of having a toxic attitude and a lack of political will to implement the project as the reasons for the firm’s withdrawal from the partnership.

Chitambo said all project designs and plans will be donated to Council in the public interest.

The letter was copied to the Permanent Secretary in the Local Government Ministry, Harare Town Clerk, City of Harare Chamber Secretary, City of Harare Chairman, and Dynamos Football Club.

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