By NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) is yet to fulfil its pledge to support First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa in the renovation of Chambuta Refugee Camp into a rehabilitation facility for street kids.
Government in 2015 announced plans to transform the Chambuta Refugee Camp into a facility for children, but the project failed to take off the ground.
The First Lady, through her Angel of Hope Foundation and the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry took over the project in 2020 and solicited for material and financial resources to ensure its success.
In November 2020, Bulawayo councillors agreed to provide paint for a hostel block at the centre following a recommendation from Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe to all local authorities to adopt a portion for the centre for rehabilitation.
However, the city fathers are against the idea of council providing resources to the project.
“Discussion ensued and the deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube was of the view that the adoption of all renovations of the hostel block at Chambuta National Children’s Rehabilitation Centre would be a misplaced priority on the part of council. He highlighted that the council was failing to meet its obligations in terms of service delivery,” minutes of the BCC general purposes committee read in part.
“He felt that council’s previous resolution to provide paint for the hostel block was enough. Council did not have adequate funds to do all the work. He was against council incurring additional costs. He felt that any funds available to council currently should be used at local level where a lot of services were lacking such as water, sewerage, repair of halls, supporting local orphanages and old people’s
“Alderman Siboniso Khumalo concurred with the deputy mayor and said that there were a lot of outstanding projects that needed to be completed within the city but due to lack of funding some of the works had been stalled. Renovating a hostel outside the city of Bulawayo would not sit well with the residents of Bulawayo. Council has not been receiving any grants from the government.”
Bulawayo’s street kids are housed at Emthunzini Wethemba, but the facility is facing viability challenges, forcing the homeless to escape. Financial challenges are also blamed for the facility’s failure to provide efficient services.
Mayor Solomon Mguni, however, said council had a responsibility to support the First Lady’s project since it was a government programme.
- Follow Nqobani on Twitter @NqobaniNdlovu