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Council blames stunted growth on economy and politics

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) says it has failed to meet some of its development targets in the last 15 years due to an unstable economic and political situation in the country.

This came out during a City Master Plan review meeting on Tuesday where the local authority revealed that it had set its targets on the assumption that the political and economic environment will be conducive.

“In preparing that master plan a lot of assumptions were made and some of the assumptions were that there will be a normal economic situation for 15 year. From 2000 to 2015 expectations in the master plan was that conditions economical and politically will be stable but we know what happened, so in the proposals of certain developmental projects, those competed against abnormal situations,” said Job Jika Ndebele, a consultant, who worked on the city master plan review.

“In terms of implementation we found that quite a lot of work was done despite the challenges, major developments took place in a number in a number of areas which included Cowdray Park, Emganwini, Pumula South and Mahatshula. There was also quite a substantial industrial development in areas like Kelvin North and Luveve.

Ndebele said council had targeted to construct 200 000 residential houses but fell way off the mark

“In terms of residential development, the plan had proposed that there will be 200 000 houses build within the master plan period, however, only 22 000 high-density houses were developed,” said Ndebele.

“In terms of Health, there was little development in terms of clinics, only 2 clinics were built, One in Pumula South and the other one in Cowdray Park. I think this one because of the economic situation. The development of health facilities was rather low.”

Ndebele said in the education sector, 53 new primary schools were proposed but the local authority only managed to construct 2.

“In terms of education the plan had proposed that 53 primary schools will be built in 15 years but that was not achieved. Only 2 primary schools were built one in Mahatshula another one a private in Cowdray Park was constructed.

“In terms of secondary schools, the plan had proposed that there will be 48 secondary schools but we only managed to build 3 secondary schools, Mazwi, Mncumbatha, and Emganwini. However, we noted that the private sector came in and also built 2 secondary schools,” he said.

He added that the local authority failed to work on the City’s major road constructions due to financial constraints.

“Several areas were rehabilitated and overlays were done in major roads such as Luveve road, Esigodini road. Patches were also done on several roads but it should be noted that it was difficult in this period to carry out large capital jobs in terms of road construction because of the financial position in the country.

“There were also proposals in certain roads and designs were made but it was difficult to carry out the jobs. In terms of the Airport, there was a proposal that the airport road be upgraded to international standards but this failed because there was no funding.

“The department of the engineering services commissioned a road survey study which revealed that 60 percent of the road network is in a poor state,” said Ndebele.

He, however, revealed that they managed to rehabilitate the local airport to meet international standards.

“The airport, in the proposal of the master plan was that, the airport be upgraded to International standards and this has been done. The airport used to carry 500 000 passengers per year, upon upgrading it now carries up to 1 500 000 passengers per year, so that is a good development,” he said.

“There has been a decline in the residential  development of the City in the past few years, remember at one time there used to be 1 000 residential houses build per year by council, this time we do not know the numbers but for us to cover that 115 000 in the 2030 we need to find ways in the residential development.”

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