Masvingo — The MDC-led Masvingo City council has lined up a series of projects aimed at improving the living conditions of residents in the ancient city - particularly health and sanitary facilities.
Speaking to The Real Change Times in a wide ranging interview last Thursday Masvingo City mayor, Alderman Femius Rashai Foroma Chakabuda said his trip to the United States of America in August was an eye opener as it brought a deeper understanding of the dynamic changes in the sphere of local governance and urban planning.
He said the trip was beneficial -not only to his delegation but to the residents since the visit brought a new dimension in the way the city's affairs will be run.
Alderman Chakabuda said the city council would soon embark on phase two of the water augmentation programme that would see new tanks, new purification plants and a 30km water pipe being set up at a cost of US $ 45 million.
The population of the ancient city is estimated at 110 000.
"Under phase two of the water augmentation programme, we will set up new treatment works new tanks and a new water pipeline. We give credit to our trip to the United States because it was an eye opener for our delegation. We were taught about changes in urban planning, employment creation and local economic development.
"Let me say under phase one of the same programme, work is already under way and water capacity has improved by 30 per cent. We have already exhausted $ 600 000 under the programme.
"We are almost through with phase one and we are preparing to launch phase two of the water augmentation programme,"said Alderman Chakabuda.
He said the construction of the Mucheke main sewer trunk line was under way adding the sewer line would stretch from the populous Mucheke suburb to Garikai residential area.
"In addition to the construction of the main sewer trunk line, we are happy to say that we have completed the construction of Francis Aphiri School, Hillside and Sisk market stalls where toilet facilities were upgraded at a cost of $ 80 000.
There were no proper ablution facilities at the respective market stalls and we were afraid of the looming health catastrophe. As a result we had to upgrade the toilet facilities."
The mayor said the project to improve roads in the city centre had reached completion although there was need to construct a traffic circle near Masvingo Polytechnic where a series of fatal accidents have occured in the past.
"Our road network programme in the city centre has reached completion but we are now looking at the Masvingo Polytechnic intersection where we need to construct a roundabout to avoid more fatal accidents at the spot, "said the mayor.
He added "Our city looks bright and clean because we are aware of the need to ensure a safe environment for the residents. We renovated the civic centre and we are going ahead with our desire to keep Masvingo clean".
"In the United States we learned that there is need to redesign and redevelop already developed land and in some cases changing completely the landscape and that is why we refurbished the civic centre and the roads in the city centre."
Alderman Chakabuda said the city of Masvingo finally managed to come up with a master plan after operating for 10 years without a proper development plan.
"We have already unveiled our programme for next year and we hope to upgrade the ZESA substation at a cost of $ 400 000 so that we can have dedicated power towards our treatment works. We are planning to construct a secondary school in Rujeko suburb and a bridge across Mucheke River into the city centre from the same suburb as part of our programme for next year, "said Alderman Chakabuda.