Local civil society organisation, Isandla Esihle is lobbying for the demotion of Chitungwiza and Kadoma from city status over terminally poor service delivery.
Isandla Esihle wants the two cities relegated to mere towns citing the failure by respective local authorities to address perennial water and sewer problems, among other ills.
The group petitioned the respective city fathers over the issue Friday.
The petition, signed by the organisation director Never Bonde who is also a Tree Ambassador, was also copied to Kadoma and Chitungwiza mayors, Kadoma Residents and Chitungwiza Residents Associations.
Reads the petition, “Following a wide consultation, investigations and monitoring of the activities of the two cities by this office, the recommendations are that if during the prescribed period, the two cities do not reform and comply with standards pointed hereunder, shall be demoted to town status.
“The following are recommendations due for improvement, sewer reticulation: one or both of the cities’ sewer reticulation is below standard, poor or under serving to be of city status and not up to the required standard. This cannot meet the vision 2030 looking at the urbanisation cluster of the vision,” reads the petition.
“Tapped water: one or both of the cities rely on pond or borehole water. Most boreholes are shallow, or wells and ponds are located along sewer streams.
“Both scenarios pose a health hazard which can negatively impact on investment and economic growth affecting the gains of the vision 2030.
“Roads structure and servicing: one or both of the cities roads are unnamed, not tarred and ungraded even they are dust roads. The situation that is an eyesore and unwelcome to the visitor expecting to see better from a city compared to a mining compound.”
The organisation also said there was a major concern over most households not electrified, something that has resulted in trees being randomly cut for firewood.
Bonde said garages and scrap yards were an eyesore to visitors who might want to visit the cities hence the need to remove backyard garages and scrap yards within the cities.
“Land scarping: investigations show that cities do not have proper land scarping with no recreational parks, playgrounds, stadia, and library facilities. Cities are characterised by theatres, schools, libraries, maternity clinics, clean water for domestic and industrial use, proper drainage system, clean bus termini with lavatory facilities. If the councils do not have these, they must improve on putting in place these,” reads the petition.
“Remedy: Councils should not allocate stands before roads, sewer and water servicing. Council should not allow occupation of houses without electricity connections and such residents will resort to firewood and destroy trees.”
Isandla Esihle gave the councils six months to resolve the challenges faced in them so that they could be allowed to retain or lose their status.
“If the demands are not met in the prescribed time, the report will be made to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and national Housing, the courts and the President for their demotion from city statuses to town statuses,” reads the petition.
“This is just but an eye opener to the Ministry as more cities are categorically under serving due to their operations.”