Zinara a huge letdown: Masvingo mayor

HARARE - Masvingo has been facing a perennial water crisis, among other service delivery challenges.

Our reporter Blessings Mashaya (BM) had a wide-ranging interview with the city’s mayor, Hubert Fidze (HF), on the town’s plans to solve the myriad problems, including the delayed completion of Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam.

Q: Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere has promised to deal with corruption; has he done anything towards achieving that goal in Masvingo?

A: We are as clean as the mayor himself.  If at all there is any councillor who could be in the house of corruption, it’s tough and unfortunate. He is still lucky and only until it gets to my ears. Anyway, I still believe we are the best run council in the country.

Q: What are you doing to improve the road situation in Masvingo and street lights in some parts of the city?

A: You just need to visit our city to see what we are doing on our roads.  Of course, we do have our own shortcomings, but we are doing our level best though.

I will still maintain that Zinara is letting us down.

We need the money for our roads. Return the licensing function back to us, then we can perform. 

I do not have any kind words for Zinara, especially when I see the number of vehicles in my city and yet it believes it has to allocate the roads fund to us. Why?

This has to be decentralised. I would like to applaud the residents of Masvingo on acceding to our request on roads levy.

We have done some roads, yes.  Part of the money we have bought a grader and a front end loader. Delivery is just by the door.

On public lighting, we have a wrangle with Zesa and it’s in the courts of which, I can’t comment now. However, my heart bleeds, we have the worst street lighting, though we are not very bad on tower lights.

Q: How is the current water situation in Masvingo?

A: We are supplying 30 mega litres out of the required 48 per day. We however, do a systematic rationing, which is equal to the task.  We do close our supply from around 1630hrs to around 0730hrs to allow the filling of our reservoirs for early supply to our residents.

Q: How is the completion of Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam going to improve the water situation in Masvingo?

A: Quite a noble project indeed. Of course, it’s going to lessen our burden on rationing as well in times of low dam levels since Tokwe-Mukorsi would now be supplying the sugar estates thus limiting draw down to the low-veld and leaving us with almost sufficient supplies.

Q: Are there any other projects you are planning to start following the completion of the Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam?

A: Of course, once the roll out of the projects at the dam are spelt out, obviously as the capital city of the project, we expect to benefit from tourism,  housing, among a host of others, including increased revenue collection and employment creation.

Q: Currently, how much are the residents owing the council and are there any measures that you have put in place to recover the money?

A: We are now owed in excess of $42 million by government, business institutions and of course the residents. The latter alone owe us in excess of $6 million since the 2013 debt write- off. Efforts have always been in place to encourage the debtors to come forward and make payment plans.

Some have been forthcoming while some still think and believe the write- offs will come again.

Q: Many councils are facing challenges with the issue of land barons. As Masvingo, are you not facing the same problem and if so, can you name some of the barons?

A: Within our commonage and jurisdiction, we do not have any land barons.  In fact, we no longer have any land for any housing projects at the moment.

Q: Are there any other projects that you are embarking on to improve the oldest city’s welfare and meet modern standards in terms of improving service delivery, among other things?

A: Engagement is the most beautiful approach towards service delivery in the city. Expectations by the residents and citizens at large are high, but like everywhere else, the depressed economy…remains the main obstacle. As a result, projects have not been forthcoming.

Q: How is your council working towards accommodating vendors, considering a number of citizens are now in the informal sector?

A: It’s unfortunate the state of the economy has turned our country into a vendor’s economy when we have the potential to be right up there, but all because of the nonsensical political fights in the ruling party, this has left the country in the state that we are in and why, you would wonder.

In Masvingo, we have plenty of space for the vendors.

It’s unfortunate they want to trade at the verandas of the formal businesses at their expense, dodging payments to council.

They are trading for survival but, it is our obligation to push them to the available vending places.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.