Ministers of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing July Moyo has challenged Mutare city Council to fully utelise devolution funds to promote access to social and economic rights.
Minister Moyo made the remarks when he toured two primary schools, Hobhouse and Chirovakamwe, which had their roofs blown off by strong winds, that recently ravaged parts of Manicaland Province, bring back fresh memories of Cyclone Idai which left a trail of destruction early this year.
On the rehabilitation of the two affected schools, with a combined enrollment of over three thousand pupils, Moyo said the devolution grant will be loaned to affected schools as a matter of urgency.
"You can use the devolution fund to rebuild the affected schools because priority number one for devolution is educational facilities, then we have issues of health, water and sanitation as well as energy in that order. Education for kids is very important that's why it is a priority for the implementation of devolution.
"However because you are financing this above a running levy for education this will be a loan to the school and parents should pay back that money because they also have to be involved," said Moyo.
Mutare city town clerk Joshua Maligwa said the municipality will convene a special council meeting to pass a resolution on the urgency of the repair works on the two affected schools.
He said repair works at the two schools should commence immediately with a technical evaluation of the required material already in the progress.
"We are glad as a council that the Minister has allowed His Worship the Mayor and the entire council to find alternative resources to ensure that these schools are urgently repaired. This therefore means we have been officially allowed to use the government devolution grant to work on emergencies.
"We are going to convene a special council meeting so that we deliberate and agree as council now that we have been given the green light to use government funds.
"The technical team from Public Works is already on the ground doing their assessments of what is needed, once they give us the feedback, we can come up with timelines, but from the discussions we had with the Minister we are taking it as a matter of urgency," said Maligwa.
Mutare Mayor councillor Blessing Thandi said the damage to the two schools were beyond the capacity of the local council whose coffers are empty.
"We have two schools that were affected by the storm, Hobhouse and Chirovakamwe,meaning we have five roofs that were blown off. We taking this a a serious mater considering that the schools enrol around 2600 pupils.
"The damage was extensive and it is beyond our capacity. It is good that we had the minister here who has assured us help from devolution finds as well as help from the Civil Protection Unit. We hope to rebuild these schools as a mattewr of urgency," said Thandi.