Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
THE Hwange Local Board (HLB) has been allocated $6 million by the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe to carry out infrastructural development at its Empumalanga high-density suburb.
HLB chief executive officer Mr Ndumiso Mdlalose said the funding by IDBZ would go a long way towards ensuring the development of the 2 000 titled serviced stands at New Empumalanga suburb which had been at a standstill due to delays in payment of monthly subscriptions by beneficiaries.
“We are very excited about this development because it brings in huge financial injection into council. We should be able to get contractors on ground by 1 May and we are looking forward to them completing their work before the onset of the next rainy season. Initially the arrangement was such that the beneficiaries of the stands were to pay monthly subscriptions so as to enable us to get the contractors to provide their services.
“However, the beneficiaries failed to make prompt payments resulting in delays by contractors in carrying out their obligations resulting in one of them who was supposed to carry out the road network pulling out from the site . . . ,” said Mr Mdlalose.
He said the funding by IDBZ would go towards payment of contractors that would be working on the new residence’s water and reticulation system, road network, street lighting and the refurbishment of the Empumalanga high density suburb’s sewerage plant, which has been non-functional for more than 10 years. The Empumalanga plant services a population of over 6 000 people. HLB completed rehabilitating one of its sewer plants in the medium density suburb of Baobab two months ago.
The Baobab sewer plant caters for 500 housing units and its rehabilitation programme was funded by IDBZ at a cost of $300 000 and the work is being carried out by Woodton Engineering.
Due to the non-functioning of its two waste water treatment plants, the local authority has been disposing raw effluent into nearby streams.
“The funding by IDBZ is going to take over the work of putting in place both the water and sewer reticulation system, road network with the bank even stating that tarred roads should be constructed. Apart from that the financial institution intends to have street lights being put in place and we have recommended that the street lights should be solar-powered,” said Mr Mdlalose.
He said banks should consider offering mortgages to beneficiaries of the residential stands.
“We are calling on banks to consider offering mortgages to beneficiaries of stands so as to expedite the construction of houses.
We however, have two banks that have expressed interest in (offering mortgages) doing so but I am not in a position to name them at the moment,” Mr Mdlalose said.
He also said another bank has expressed interest at constructing 1 000 core housing units.
“We also have a bank that is interested in building 1 000 houses in our high density area. We believe all these developments will go a long way in terms of our contribution to Zim Asset.”
The local authority has also identified an area for the construction of 500 low density houses in Baobab. HLB was established in 1974 and due to multiple administration and land ownership by the three parastatals namely Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL), Zesa Holdings’ subsidiary Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) the local authority only administers and offers service provision to two suburbs namely Empumalanga and Baobab.
The imbalances caused by the apportioning of land by these big companies (HCCL, ZPC and NRZ) have led the area to experience stunted growth and failure to attain township status.
The local authority has been calling for amalgamation of all the concessions into one with it overseeing infrastructural development projects, administration and service provision. ZPC and NRZ seem to have warmed to the idea but HCCL seems to be adamant. Four years ago, HLB also mooted plans to set up a Civic Centre. However, the $50 million project has been struggling to get investors. The 12,5-hectare Civic Centre was expected to be Hwange’s first Central Business District and one of the local authority’s drive to attain township status.
Hwange has been without a focal point since its founding in 1899, HCCL has over the past six years destroyed some of its low density houses within the vicinity of its commercial business centre to create space for businesses to set up their structures.