At least 17 companies are contracted to supply Harare City Council with water treatment chemicals in a deal in which council pays US$3 million a month. The companies share the money according to the amount supplied by each of them every month.
They also share the supply of the nine water treatment chemicals which are granular aluminum sulphate, liquid aluminum sulphate, activated carbon, sulphuric acid, anhydrous ammonia, gaseous chlorine, white hydrated lime, HTH and sodium silicate.
According to the council procurement board's minutes of 16 April 2012, all the ranked companies were given orders.
"All companies . . . that qualified for the tender to supply water treatment chemicals be given orders and be ranked according to prices," reads part of the minutes.
For the supply of granular aluminum, five companies won the tender.
These are, according to price rankings per kilogramme: Workman (56c), EM Chemicals (63c), Tazchem (63c), CEM (64c) and MT and N (75c).
Chemplex Corporation is the sole supplier of liquid aluminum at 31c per kg and anhydrous ammonia at US$2,51.
Loyal Crown International is the first choice supplier of activated carbon and charges US$1,63 per kg.
Kithra is the second choice at US$1,89, MT and N at US$2,13 and lastly Calundike at US$2,81.
Chemplex Corporation and North Brooke are the suppliers of sulphuric acid at US$0.35 and US$0.84 per kg respectively.
Kleinridge is also the sole supplier of sodium silicate and charges US$1,15 per kg, while Tazchem, A.I Davies and Kleinridge supply HTH at US$3,22, US$3,43 and US$4,12 per kg respectively.
A.I Davies and CEM are the suppliers of gaseous chlorine at US$2,14 and US$2,68 respectively. Seven companies are contracted to supply white hydrated lime and their price ranges from US$0,52 to US$0,87.
These are EM Chemicals, Curechem, Calundike, Tuff, Consuflex, Thrustview and Buffer Chem. Some councillors alleged in a recent full council meeting that some of the companies supplying the city were foreign.
They said officials were awarding tenders for the supply of water treatment chemicals to shady and incompetent companies that offer them kickbacks.
Newly appointed Harare special interest councillor Dr Joseph Kanyekanye queried why the city was importing water treatment chemicals when there were local companies that offer the same products at much cheaper prices.
The local supplier, Chemplex Corporation, and the city have clashed on several occasions over the supply of chemicals.
According to a report by the city's water department, the liquid aluminum supplied by Chemplex was inferior in strength compared to that supplied by others. Chemplex is ranked fourth on the supply list because its price per tonne in terms of what is referred to as 100 percent purity is US$3 846, compared to its competitors like Workman which charges US$3 394 and EM Chemicals at US$3 795.
But Chemplex is cheaper compared to CEM and MT and N which charge US$3 902 and US$4 512 per tonne for 100 percent purity respectively.