MASHAVA, which had become a ghost town after the closure of Gaths Mine due to viability problems two years ago, has received a new lease of life after the Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) got a 10-year lease to rent the mine premises.
REPORT BY TATENDA CHITAGU OWN CORRESPONDENT
The mine — which falls under Shabanie-Mashaba Mines grabbed from businessman Mutumwa Mawere — is located about 40km west of Masvingo town.
GZU information director James July confirmed that the institution had signed a 10-year lease to use the premises and would move some faculties from Masvingo Teachers’ College where it is currently housed.
At least 1 000 students and hundreds of staff members are set to be accommodated in the small mining town when the university opens for its first semester in March.
The deal is likely to improve coffers of the local authority struggling to collect rates and tariffs from impoverished former workers, some of whom have since turned to gold panning, illicit drug dealing and prostitution for survival.
A local businessman from Mashava, Reginald Mutyambizi said: “That will mean a business boom after a slump for years. The people could not survive on the closed mine, so this will be a blessing to us.”
Transport operators plying the Masvingo-Mashava route were equally excited with prospects of good business as some students and staff members were likely to commute daily.
Others also expect to rent out extra rooms to students who may fail to get university-provided accommodation.