HARARE – The Ruwa Town Council chairperson has lambasted Lands minister Herbert Murerwa, accusing him of refusing to avail farms for expanding the satellite town.
Presenting his report on housing delivery to Local Government deputy minister, Sessel Zvidzai and his team, chairperson of the local board Pinias Mushayavanhu said Murerwa has refused to assist his council with farms that are close to the town council for expansion.
“It is very unfortunate that the Lands minister is our senator, he has failed to help us,” said Mushayavanhu.
“He is very unhelpful. We have written to his office making several requests for land, but he has not attended to them. He acts as if he is not the senator of this area.”
Murerwa is senator for Goromonzi, and his constituency includes Goromonzi south, a constituency that houses Ruwa town council.
Efforts to get a comment from Murerwa’s office were futile yesterday.
Zvidzai was visiting the local board on a government assessment programme to evaluate how each and every local authority is performing.
He was accompanied by Ian Makone, chief secretary in the office of the Prime Minister.
According to Mushayavanhu, Ruwa town council has a housing waiting list of more than 3 000 but has no land for expansion.
“The problem we have here is that of identity crisis, we as Ruwa we are not sure as to where we belong,” he said.
“Harare treats us as Mashonaland East and Mashonaland East says we are part of Harare. So we have no one who has sympathy for us.”
He said the local board has identified at least four farms surrounding the town for expansion purposes, but the biggest challenge is getting Murerwa’s approval for acquisition by the local board.
Mushayavanhu also pleaded with the government team to intervene in the water crisis which he described as dire.
“We are sitting on a health time bomb, all our shallow wells were tested and they were condemned. This means that we have to provide tap water to our residents.
The biggest challenge that we have in this regard is of funds to finance the water project which is at its final stage.
“We need $500 000 for us to complete the project and we plead with your good office to talk to the ministry of Finance so that they can chip in and help us,” Mushayavanhu said.
In his response, Zvidzai said he would engage Finance minister Tendai Biti to avail funds for water at least before year end.
“We are going to use the influence of the office of the Prime Minister to have the money paid to Zesa holding so that you have water here hopefully before Christmas,” said Zvidzai.
Makone also promised the local board assistance through Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to raise the much-needed $500 000 for water. – Xolisani Ncube