Gweru no longer City of Progress

HARARE - Tipped as Zimbabwe’s next capital because of its central location, Gweru which is also known as The City of Progress is just but a shell of what it used to be.

The heavy industrial site which boasted of companies such as Anchor Yeast and Zimbabwe Alloys is just a pale shadow of it past as these are no longer functional due to economic challenges.

Beerhalls owned by the Gweru City Council have now been converted into council banking halls as both private companies and the local authority fail to venture into lucrative businesses.

Sewage flows from residential properties in Mtapa, Ascot and some Mkoba suburbs have become a daily problem with council taking weeks to address them.

With a single refuse truck to service the entire city of a population of about 160 000, interestingly Gweru is the third largest city in Zimbabwe and sixth largest in terms of population.

However, due to the problem of refuse trucks, garbage can go for months without being collected. So desperate is the situation that council last year sought private companies and individuals with two tone trucks to collect refuse in the various suburbs on a contract basis.

Gweru Residents Forum director Charles Mazorodze said the situation in Gweru has become deplorable.

Mazorodze said the recent typhoid outbreak in Gweru was a clear sign of poor sanitation that had befallen the city.

He added that water infrastructure in Gweru was below standard with no remedy in sight from council, government or the various commissions that were set-up for the city.

“The suburbs that have been affected by typhoid have had perennial water challenges dating back to the last 15 years and council has not managed to take concrete steps to address the issues. There are no concrete plans on how to address the problem. At present affected suburbs are still accessing contaminated water despite it being condemned,” he said.

“We call upon the central government particularly the ministries of Health, Local Government and Water as well as council and other technical partners to move with speed and support the residents by providing the necessary logistical support to address Gweru’s water challenges.”

The GRF director said another issue in Gweru is the housing problem which has seen land barons taking advantage of desperate home seekers.

Mazorozde said sprouting housing cooperatives are giving people a raw deal while also putting pressure on the local authority to provide them with social services yet they did not deal directly with council.

“Council is expected to provide amenities such as roads, water and sewer to a cooperative that enriched a land baron. The land barons did not pay to the local authority to have the requisite infrastructure installed; for example the State land surrounding Gweru which was parcelled out to land hawks like River Valley. Suburbs like Woodlands do not have services yet they are now more than five years old,” Mazorodze said.

The GRF director further emphasised that commissions contributed nothing except gobbling council resources and they were not accountable to the citizenry but to the appointing authority which is government.

Through a $2,3 million disbursement from the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (Zinara), Gweru managed to rehabilitate about 27 kilometres roads however, the bulk of them particularly in high density suburbs remain extremely damaged.

The city has over the years only managed to maintain 35 percent of its road network due to financial constraints.

In their 2018 budget, GCC used more than $15 million for salaries and allowances while a paltry $2 million was allocated towards service delivery.

Comments (1)

Was it ever?

citizen - 27 August 2018

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