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Chitungwiza in master plan quandary

President Emmerson Mnangagwa ordered all 92 local authorities to come up with master plans by the end of this month in a move meant to curb the sprouting of chaotic haphazard settlements.

Chitungwiza Municipality officials are sweating over the crafting of a master plan and meeting the June 30 deadline for its submission amid revelations that the local authority has applied for the condonation of the delay.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa ordered all 92 local authorities to come up with master plans by the end of this month in a move meant to curb the sprouting of chaotic haphazard settlements.

Over the years Chitungwiza Municipality has been mulling over crafting of the development blueprint, but the move has been hitting a brick wall due to a number of factors, chief being lack of funding.

A master plan is a dynamic long-term statutory planning policy document that provides a conceptual layout to guide future growth and development of a town.

Based on public input, surveys, planning initiatives, existing development, physical characteristics, and social and economic conditions, a master plan includes analysis, recommendations and proposals for residents, economy, housing, transportation, community facilities and land use.

However, the crafting of the Chitungwiza Municipality master plan has received mixed reactions from residents.

“We only heard that the council is working on a masterplan, but we have not been consulted as residents’ representatives,” said Alice Kuvheya, director of Chitungwiza Residents Trust (Chitrest).

“We only attended one meeting at the Aquatic Complex, but we hear they are doing master plan meetings at Margolis Resort, Yadah Hotel and council chambers with only a chosen few.

“We welcome the idea of the masterplan, but we cannot accept it if it does not have residents’ input.”

Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural Residents Association director Marvellous Kumalo bemoaned lack of transparency in the whole process.

“We welcome the move to transform Chitungwiza and possibly get a city status, but we are against the council’s lack of transparency in the crafting of the master plan,” he said.

“There is no communication; everything is being done behind closed doors.

“We don’t want a situation where we wake up to find a master plan that does not have residents’ involvement.”

Standard People established that the cash-strapped Chitungwiza Municipality, with financial support from a local land developer Wistmer Investments, was working frantically on the master plan, but meeting the deadline appears to be a pie in the sky.

“We are racing against time, we remain hopeful,” said Chitungwiza Municipality spokesperson Tafadzwa Kachiko.

“Our planners are losing sleep over the master plan.”

However, sources said despite council officials racing against time, chances were high that they won’t complete the task before the June 30 deadline.

“There is a lot to be done and meeting the deadline is a mammoth task,” said a source.

“Council is working with a consultant and there is a possibility that they might apply for the condonation of the delay.”

An official at Wistmer Investments said their company only funded the crafting of the master plan.

“Wistmer is only funding the crafting of the masterplan; we only paid the consultant, transport and other costs,” said the official.

“Council is working on the masterplan on its own with the support of a physical planning expert, who is the consultant.”

Wistmer is said to have paid around US$600 000 for the masterplan with a possibility of the money getting close to US$1 million considering there a lot of work that needs to be done.

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