Beitbridge mayor to push smart city vision
Thupeyo Muleya, [email protected]
BEITBRIDGE’S Ward 1 councillor, Peter Pirato Mafuta, was on Monday elected the town’s mayor unopposed and immediately declared that he will continue with the town’s transformation thrust, which has been set by the Second Republic.
Clr Mafuta will be deputised by Ward 6 councillor, John Manatsa. He replaces Clr Munyaradzi Chitsunge who was elected in Ward 2 in 2018 while Mr Manatsa replaces Clr Agnes Tore from Ward 6.
Beitbridge Town has six elected councillors and two others from the women’s quota system. In his acceptance speech, Clr Mafuta said his office was open to everyone with ideas in transforming the town into a medium city.
“Let me thank my fellow councillors for the nomination and subsequent election to the post of mayor of Beitbridge,” said the new Mayor.
“I am advised the 2023 municipal budget speech ran with the theme: ‘Accelerating Economic Transformation’. The theme is premised on the National Development Strategy 1 anchored on moving the nation towards a prosperous and empowered upper middle-income society by 2030.
“Our 2023 budget was responding to the various issues raised by stakeholders through the 2022 consultative process.”
The new mayor said key issues to be tackled include the need to permanently deal with sewer blockages, provision of potable water in Tshithaudze, Madinginye and Khwalu suburbs, as well as infrastructural development to match the border upgrade spearheaded by the Government of Zimbabwe.
He said sewer system upgrade, tarring of roads, completion of stands servicing, the completion of the main rank, and public lighting were some of the immediate concerns.
In the first six months in office, Clr Mafuta said the council intends to start the construction of a new clinic, complete a toilet block at Alfred Beit Primary school so that the school can open in January 2024.
The completion of the Dulibadzimu Bus Terminus, which is long overdue, he said, will be attended to as a matter of priority.
“We are also going to improve public lighting and I am advised that we have entered into an agreement with Econet to use some of their base stations to install public lights,” said Clr Mafuta.
“In addition, it is critical for us to start offering stands on the new central business district, which will make our town look new and modern.
“Our town has faced challenges of water shortages, roads in need of resealing/ reconstruction, the need to control vending, control illegal occupation of council land, low payments by rate payers and the slow pace of stand servicing”.
To ensure the local authority remains viable, he said there was a need to increase revenue particularly through payments in foreign currency. This, he added, will increase foreign currency payments for workers and urged rate payers to support the local authority.
“During my term of office, I want to address the above challenges while focusing on council’s vision of becoming a ‘smart city’ providing excellent sustainable services to the community by 2030,” he said.
“Service delivery is currently subdued due to financial constraints as witnessed by the low budget expenditure. Residents and stakeholders have bemoaned deteriorating service delivery.”
The municipality had budgeted to redevelop or renew the oldest part of Dulibadzimu Township. The area in question is located north of the Dulibadzimu stadium (including the stadium) and west of the Makhado Road and extends westwards to include the old bus terminus and the Wamlala stream.
It is characterised by buildings that are not only decaying but also do not satisfy the minimum requirements for habitable buildings.
Mr Chitsunge challenged the new leaders to be involved in community programmes and ensure they move along with national vision. He said the time for elections was over and that the new leadership should get busy on the ground.
Beitbridge District Development Coordinator, Mrs Sikhangezile Mafu-Moyo said they were looking forward to seeing accelerated infrastructure development in the town.
“The Government has set the tone for development in our town and we expect to see the local authority complementing these efforts,” she said. —@tupeyo