MUTARE– The local authority has begun works for its prime development project, through a special purpose vehicle and local investors, aimed at transforming the city into a world class urban metropolis.
City management says the Sakubva Urban Renewal, as a project with a national status, will provide upstream and downstream linkages for local investors, and generate employment opportunities.
Town Clerk, Joshua Maligwa told 263Chat in an exclusive interview that they are buoyed by the expression of interest by several investors, including notable banks and building societies that will take up slots.
He said the project will also seek to empower local communities, youths, women and local companies.
Maligwa said currently the schedule of works has been approved, with local contractors cordoning off a set area for brick moulding, which will be subcontracted to youths and women groups.
The project which was supposed to have kicked off at the end of March but stalled due to ongoing Covid-19 national lockdown, while other projects with National Project Status have continued to be rolled out.
“The Sakubva Urban Renewal project is progressing well, at the moment, we have started fencing the coronation area where we expect brick moulding to start as soon as possible.
“We also have other partners like CBZ National Building Society and other local interested companies that want to take up slots in terms of the project is concerned.
“The downstream benefits of this project are going to benefit the people of Manicaland particularly the people of Mutare. The companies that have been engaged to do the fencing are our own local entrepreneurs who are in the Green Market.
“Very soon we will be engaging youths, women and all those interested to start brick moulding in groups or brigades,” said Maligwa.
Maligwa said the project will also leverage on its national status tag to speed up developments and ensure that schedule of works is met.
He said the special purpose vehicle, Sakubva Urban Development company, a partnership between Plan Infrastructure Development (PID) and City of Mutare, approved by government in 2018 is now officially registered.
“The partnership was approved by government in 2018 and the company was registered in 2020 by the registrar of companies.
“By getting national status it means that there are going to be rebates as far as equipment which is being procured outside the country, so that the project is given impetus to move and be quickly completed.
“We have quite a number of investors that are on the ground, we have Shelter Zimbabwe, Banc ABC are also coming in as a financial adviser and at the same time an investor. They will take up some slots in terms of housing construction and other developments of the project,” said Maligwa.
Financers Banc ABC conducted final phases of its due diligence to releases a US$1 million draw down from a US$8 million facility, targeted at constructing three blocks of flats in the initial phase of the project.
The Sakubva project is part of a broader national Urban Renewal Project initiative aimed at modernizing local cities including Mutare’s oldest and run-down suburb of Sakubva, in line with Government’s Vision 2030.
Government has made a commitment to transform local cities under a Smart Zimbabwe blueprint which is expected to turn local urban areas into smart cities that use information communication technologies.
Under the project, council will construct high rise flats, revamping of Sakubva Flea Market, Sakubva Bus Terminus, Murahwa Green Market Home Industries and Sakubva Vegetable Market.
Mutare City Council has availed 225 hectares of land for the initiative.