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Furore over Harare master plan

Local News
Officials at Town House are also alleged to have been working on the master plan without a consultant as stipulated by law.

HARARE residents are up in arms with the local authority, which they accuse of trying to smuggle a master plan produced without their input contrary to the law.

Officials at Town House are also alleged to have been working on the master plan without a consultant as stipulated by law.

In November last year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched a blueprint titled A Call to Action — No Compromise to Service Delivery: First Stage of Interventions to Modernise the Operations of Local Authorities Towards a 2030 Vision.

The blueprint directed all the country’s 92 local authorities to submit master plans by the end of this month as part of government efforts to enhance service delivery.

However, Harare residents have called on the government to reject the proposed master plan, and have already petitioned the Local Government and Public Works minister Daniel Garwe and Harare City Council over the matter.

A city master plan is a blueprint, typically spanning 10 to15 years, that guides the city’s growth and development and also acts as a roadmap, outlining its vision for the future and strategies for making it a reality.

Harare’s last master plan was unveiled in 1996.

Harare City Council is said to have shelled out nearly US$3 million to develop the city’s new master plan to comply with the government directive for all local authorities to finalise long-term development blueprints by June 30 this year.

While most local authorities across Zimbabwe engaged consultants from as early as January this year, Harare City Council only announced the awarding of contracts to two companies on June 6.

Residents, who contacted NewsDay queried the period the two companies are expected to work on the master plan.

“There is something fishy about the whole deal, especially considering that the master plan has to be submitted in the next three weeks,” a resident said.

“Harare’s challenges and its stature are too complex for the city fathers to try and convince us that this is something that can be done within a month.”

Announcing the tender award, Harare City Council supply chain manager Never Murerwa, said the Special Procurement Oversight Committee Resolution on May 31 this year appointed Development Studio Africa (Pvt) Ltd and Arup Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd to develop the master plan at a cost of US$2 961 648,40.

Speaking during a full council meeting last week, town planner Samuel Nyabeza said they expected to submit the plan before the deadline.

“We are happy with the master plan and we are taking all necessary measures,” he said.

Another resident Carole Pearce challenged council to consult residents before submitting the master to the government.

“We have just heard that the City of Harare is producing a new master plan without having consulted residents, contrary to the law and is presenting it to the full council meeting on June 30,” she said.

According to a petition against the master plan, the residents should have been consulted during the process.

“The public should have been consulted throughout the planning process, up to the validation of the study findings that forms the basis of the proposals,” the petition read.

“The legal procedure for consultations and publicity outlined above has not been followed and, according to the information on Facebook cited above, there is no intention of following it.”

Harare Residents and Ratepayers Association director Precious Shumba said they were not consulted over the new master plan.

“We were not consulted at all. They just come to the residents just for the show. The situation has been like this for the last few years and we are reaching them over the matter,”  Shumba said.

Mnangagwa while launching the blueprint challenged local authorities to be in a state to develop a roadmap towards 2030 vision.

“Government will come up with minimum service delivery levels to be achieved by all local authorities. What is not planned for will not be executed,” he said.

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