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Light filters for Sakubva Renewal Project

21 Jan, 2022 - 00:01 0 Views
Light filters for Sakubva Renewal Project Cllr Tandi

The ManicaPost

Cletus Mushanawani
News Editor

THE much-awaited Sakubva Urban Renewal project, which has experienced false starts over the past two years due to Covid-19 and financing challenges, is now expected to take off during the first quarter of this year, The Manica Post has learnt.

Investors for some of the projects have been identified, while Memorandums of Understanding have been signed between the local authority and the investors.

On its part, Mutare City Council has provided funds for projects like the resurfacing of Sakubva Musika, as well as the upgrading of Sakubva Stadium and Swimming Pool in its 2022 financial and expenditure budget.

The project, expected to change the face of Mutare’s oldest suburb, was granted national project status following a ground-breaking ceremony presided over by President Mnangagwa in 2019.

When the project had gathered steam, Covid-19 dealt it a devastating blow after claiming the lives of some of its chief proponents, among them national heroine, Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba (the then Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution), Mr Joshua Maligwa (then Mutare Town Clerk) and Dr Munashe Furusa (then Sakubva Urban Renewal Company board chairman and Africa University Vice-Chancellor).

The three died in quick succession early last year, throwing the project off the rails.

Only the fence at the area earmarked for high-rise flats acted as a reminder of the project to Sakubva residents.

Late last year, a contractor engaged by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) which adopted the Sakubva Market project as part of its corporate social programme pulled down a shade that was erected on site to pave way for the construction of the new vegetable market.

The contractor fenced off the area and work is expected to commence soon.

Grass and bushes now cover the area which used to house Sakubva Swimming Flea Market, while deep potholes litter parts of Sakubva Musika.

Initially, BancABC was expected to inject US$8 million for the first phase of the project, but this failed to materialise and the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) was roped in last year.

The Authority is expected to play a leading role in funding some of the projects like the Murahwa Green Market and flats.

A special vehicle company, Sakubva Urban Renewal Development Company, has since been formed and is chaired by Africa University’s Faculty of Management and Administration lecturer, Mr Kenneth Maregere.

In an interview with The Manica Post early this week, Mr Maregere said most of the groundwork for the commencement of the project was covered late last year, adding that work is expected to commence in the immediate future.

“A new board had to be instituted following the deaths of some board members, and investors were engaged. Budgets have been made and agreements have been reached with the financiers of the various projects.

“Late last year, a contractor was on site on the area designated for the Sakubva Market. All is set and we are just waiting for the depositing of the money into the contractor’s account to quick-start this long overdue project. The investors and financiers of the Murahwa Green Market project have also been engaged.

“This project also covers the construction of high-rise flats, a new flea market, a bus terminus and a state-of-the-art shopping mall. We hope to finalise the agreements in the shortest possible future as the projects have different funding models,” explained Mr Maregere.

He said the Murahwa Green Market project will chew US$6.5 million, while the Sakubva Flea Market and Sakubva Vegetable Market require US$3m and S$1,8m respectively.

“We are still working on the figures for infrastructure at the bus terminus and shopping mall. We will be updating the public as we progress with the various projects. We expect everything to start during this first quarter of the year. Financers will also be made public once everything takes off from the ground, but we are excited by the enthusiasm of all those involved in this game changing project, “ said Mr Maregere.

In a separate interview, Mutare Mayor, Councillor Blessing Tandi said almost all the grey areas that were hampering progress on the Sakubva Urban Renewal Project have been addressed.

“It is now all systems go for this important national project. As a council, we have played our part to ensure that all sticking issues pertaining to the project are addressed. All stakeholders are now happy and residents should expect work to start anytime soon.

“NSSA will spearhead the construction of Murahwa Green Market and flats. An MOU with NSSA is already in place and anytime from now work will start there. Work at the Green Market should not take more than a year. lf everything goes according to plan, the transformation of Sakubva should be done within five years.

“For the Sakubva Vegetable Market, we expect the completion of the project by August,” he said.

Councillor Tandi said the local authority will spearhead some of the projects like the resurfacing of Sakubva Musika, as well as the refurbishment of Sakubva Stadium and Swimming Pool.

“As a council, we decided to fund some of the projects. A total of $65 million has been budgeted for the resurfacing of Sakubva Musika. We also want to upgrade Sakubva Stadium to a world-class facility so that it can host international matches. The scope of work at Sakubva Stadium include installing bucket seats and having a new turf. For the bucket seats, we budgeted $3m while the new turf needs $3m. The new turf will be put as soon as the current soccer season is over.

“Our swimming pool will also be refurbished because we cannot leave it surrounded by modern structures without anything being done to it.

“All these projects depend on the support from residents through paying their rates and rentals, so we are urging everyone to play his or her part,” said Councillor Tandi.

Last year, NSSA confirmed coming on board in the Sakubva Urban Renewal Project.

In a statement, NSSA spokesperson, Ms Getrude Chipamba said: “NSSA is refocusing its investment thrust towards investments that will contribute to economic development and still achieve financial benefit for our contributors and pensioners. The investment sectors being targeted include infrastructure development, agriculture and renewable energy, among others. In our view, Sakubva Urban Renewal is one such project that is likely to have a huge economic impact.

“When considering investment in such projects, NSSA follows a well-defined investment process which involves a thorough due diligence process to establish the viability of undertaking the investment. NSSA is currently considering the Sakubva Urban Renewal Project as a potential investment with a focus on the areas that are likely to be commercially viable such as the (Murahwa) Green Market.”

Ms Chipamba added: “NSSA as a social security provider has a keen interest in uplifting the living conditions of its members and Zimbabweans in general and the Sakubva Urban Renewal Project goes a long way in realising the Second Republic’s goal to make Zimbabwe an upper middle class economy by 2030.”

 

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