INADEQUATE funds and land have frustrated government efforts to expand the City of Bulawayo, Local Government deputy minister Christopher Chingosho has said.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Chingosho said the government had not abandoned plans to expand Bulawayo as suggested by President Robert Mugabe in 2004.
Addressing Parliament on Wednesday, Chingosho said land for the project had not been allocated to the local authority, hence the delays, adding the “issue is being addressed by the ministry”.
“The delay is caused by the fact that expansion involves adding more land to Bulawayo. The process is that the land first of all is acquired by the Lands and Rural Resettlement ministry and after having been acquired, it will be handed over,” he said.
“Let me inform the House that although no work has started, the issue is being addressed by my ministry and according to its plan, the actual implementation will start in 2016.”
However, his reply attracted more questions from legislators, Irene Zindi, Joel Gabbuza and Nicola Watson, who were not satisfied with his answer.
Chingosho insisted that once funds and land have been made available, the project would take off.
“It is both the monetary problem, but mostly as you have rightly pointed out, it is the process itself where the land, first of all, has to be acquired by Lands and Rural Resettlement ministry and then handed over to the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ministry, which then hands it over to Bulawayo,” he said.
“First and foremost, when that land is acquired, it is going to benefit the people resident around that area. Secondly, the land was acquired already, but having been acquired is not enough to just acquire and then you start the implementation of the project. I am saying the process of handing over that land finally to the Bulawayo Municipality had not been concluded.”