By Innocent Ruwende
The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing has turned down an application by Chinhoyi Municipality to be accorded city status saying the town lacks the requisite basic infrastructure of a city.
Responding to questions by the municipality’s mayor, Councillor Test Michaels at the Local Government Investment Conference underway here on why Government had not made a decision on the application in question, Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said Chinhoyi had to show some serious enterprise.
“If you are going to be a mayor it has to be a real city. You cannot say you are a mayor of a city with only one street with tarred road in the central business district. There is not even a single three-storey building in Chinhoyi.”
“Chinhoyi has been doing well. It has Chinhoyi University of Technology and the hotel but that is all about it. For you to be considered to be a city, you need to show serious enterprise. You must be able to attract companies to invest in Chinhoyi.
“I know we all go to trips outside the country. When you go, come back and compare Berlin and Chinhoyi,” he said.
The Mashonaland West provincial capital has been pressing for city status but the ministry turned down several applications saying outstanding issues such as an improvement in service delivery and infrastructure development should be addressed.
Some parts of Chinhoyi such as Orange Grove have not had tap water for several years while rationing is a permanent feature in other suburbs. Minister Kasukuwere urged local authorities to tap into new knowledge systems and embrace technology.
“You cannot continue to use century-old system of running towns without evolving and adapting to modern trends.
“In sync with our housing delivery thrust, local authorities ought to seriously position themselves to attract finance for bulk infrastructure provision in particular water, sewer reticulation, treatment plants and converyencing are a pre-requisite for any housing programme.
“These key services are the foundation for any sustainable urban settlement. I would like to see local authorities prioritising such capital expenditure and infrastructure in their 2017 budgets. May I remind you that it calls for accountability and transparency in your conduct,” he said.
Minister Kasukuwere said honest and trustworthy conduct by councils and their officials made the sector creditworthy, adding councils should have values for them to be bankable and attract the necessary investment for such capital projects. The Herald