The Sunday Mail
For Mazowe Rural District Council (MRDC), devolution seems to be working wonders as progress is becoming increasingly noticeable.
Most, if not all, projects are being bankrolled from funds allocated from the kitty reserved specifically for devolution.
Social amenities for the district’s six emerging towns — Concession, Glendale, Mazowe, Mount Pleasant Heights, Christon Bank and Nzvimbo Growth Point — have greatly improved.
Some roads in Mazowe had not been rehabilitated for close to 30 years, which made it difficult for commuters and motorists.
However, after disbursements from Treasury, there has been remarkable improvement in road rehabilitation.
The council’s engineer, Mr Cleopas Mupereki, said MRDC acquired a tipper and a backhaul loader at a cost of $3,9 million, which helped to re-gravel roads in most parts of the district.
Prior to purchasing the equipment, council used to hire at a high cost.
“The cost of road maintenance in Mazowe has significantly reduced, thanks to devolution funding which partly financed the purchase of a new tipper truck acquired at a cost of $3,9 million.
“We have also managed to acquire a backhaul loader. This means we can now do the work on our own instead of hiring the vehicles. So, we have not only managed to reduce the cost of doing the work, but now we can do the work at our own pace.”
Council plans to re-gravel 500km of road within the entire Mazowe district, including opening up land designated for residential and commercial use.
District Development Coordinator Mr Mark Kadaira said: “Devolution funds have greatly assisted us. If it were not for devolution, we would have not done much in terms of the roads. It is important to maintain a standard trafficable road network to lay the platform for modernisation and development.”
Mazowe residents interviewed by The Sunday Mail confirmed that they had witnessed positive changes in the district’s road network.
“This has been my home for close to 30 years; the roads have been deteriorating by the day, but we are noticing a change since devolution was introduced. The local authority is now prioritising road maintenance,” said Concession resident Mr Noel Mbira.
Water challenges that were negatively affecting Umzi suburb in Glendale are set to improve following a $2,3 million investment in water reticulation by MRDC.
Six hundred households in Glendale now have access to tap water as a direct result of the spruced-up water reticulation system.
Prior to installation of the new system, residents had been relying on water from wells and boreholes.
Engineer Mupereki said the water reticulation project is in response to the fast-paced growth that Glendale is experiencing.
MRDC has offered to assist the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) to upgrade the water reticulation system in the area.
MRDC plans to increase the number of clinics in the district, as in some cases patients travel for more than 10 kilometres to reach the nearest health centre.
To date, devolution funds have been channelled towards the construction of two clinics — Gombekombe and Chigwida in Chiweshe.
“Work is in progress for the two clinics, where we committed $1,6 million of the devolution funds. One of the clinics in Chiweshe is now at slab level. Council is also refurbishing an old farm house in Verona into a clinic and four mother shelters in communal areas are being built.
“Mazowe is one of the districts with many concentrated rural service centres and our thrust is to increase social amenities to match the development,” he said.
Mazowe has 35 health centres and two hospitals, servicing a population of more than 252 000 people.
A number of investors have found value in investing in areas such as mining, housing development, solar energy, agriculture value chains and healthcare services.
Recently, MRDC welcomed a US$1 million roofing tile investment with capacity to produce two metres of roofing tiles per second.
This and other investments have created hundreds of jobs for locals, leaving many of the residents upbeat about the future.
“We are now old but we see that this area is developing fast. We hope that the authorities can continue to build more projects and clinics,” said Mr Hitler Gwenzi from Concession.
MRDC District Development Officer Dr Joshua Nyashanu said Mazowe has experienced tangible development since the New Dispensation introduced devolution.
“Apart from inflation and late disbursement, devolution funds have addressed budgetary shortfalls, cushioning the weaknesses of local authorities. RDC’s have no reason to fail in service provision because the money is readily available, all because of devolution.
“We believe that Mazowe has become the fastest growing rural economy due to devolution, as well as other factors such as proximity to the capital city, good rainfall patterns as well as being one of the highly mineralised districts.”