By Innocent Ruwende
Harare City Council has been told to come up with a masterplan, which would enable the city to open up investment opportunities and facilitate the development of bypasses, ringroads and freeways, urban tolling and provision of mass rapid transit systems.
The Harare Master Plan is a strategic spatial development planning framework that sets out land use and the development policy for Harare Metropolitan area.
In a speech read on his behalf by the principal director (urban local authorities) Ms Erica Jones at the Harare Master Plan Preparation Inception Conference, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo challenged the city and other stakeholders to come up with solutions for a coordinated and harmoniously developed capital city.
“It is all our duty ladies and gentlemen to bring out issues and challenges that the preparation team will go and research for details in order to come up with solutions for a coordinated and harmoniously developed capital city. A city that can complete regionally to attract foreign direct investment (FDI),” he said.
He said the plan should also include infrastructure improvements of treatment works and development of new treatment works for areas being opened up among other things.
Minister Moyo said he would want to see education and health facilities, which were accessible and affordable.
“Harare cannot attract both domestic and foreign investment if majority of workers spend two hours on the road to and from work, if there is no water for domestic and industrial production, if services delivery is poor for industrial and other urban land uses,” he said.
“These challenges can be solved if we all work together in order to come up with solutions.
“However, I cannot over emphasise the importance of putting deliverables in a policy document such as the Harare Master Plan lest they degenerate into mere academic research with no relevance to our local and national development agenda in spite of huge investments in terms of time, effort and money.”
Acting town clerk Eng Chisango said the review of the Harare Master Plan was a vehicle through which the City of Harare will promote its development and growth as well as fostering order.
In this context, the review of the Harare Master Plan is in line with City’s mission to ” . . . provide first class service and promote investment”.
Through the review of the Master Plan, city challenges which include traffic congestion, lack of a mass public transportation system, urban sprawl, rural to urban migration, poor service provision, and Rapid City population growth among others, can be resolved,” he said.
“Given current pressures from both the physical and economic environments it has become prudent that the City prepares its own Master Plan that will resonate with the needs and policies of Harare,” he said.
“We must stop illegal settlements propagated by politicians seeking votes. Our planners must not be swayed into doing illegal things.
“Our residents look up to us to come up with a plan which addresses their daily challenges. The plan must also address environmental concerns,” he said.
The HCMP became operational in 1994 and since then, it had not been reviewed.
In terms of Section 13 of the Regional, Town and County Planning Act (Chapter 29:12), the Local Planning Authority was required to keep matters within its planning area under review.
Accordingly, the city’s master plan should be reviewed every 15 years, but since it became operational 23 years ago, the Master Plan had not been reviewed and had outlived its lifespan.