Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) requires about US$60 million to relocate more than 400 families from Hwange’s Ingagula suburb situated near Hwange Thermal Power Station as the suburb is exposed to pollution due to its proximity to the power plant.
The suburb has been in existence for decades with residents enduring air and land pollution from flue gas and the amount of discharge will be extreme after the completion of Units 7 and 8 hence the need to relocate the families.
Villagers between Hwange and Bulawayo will also be affected by construction of three powerlines connecting Insukamini in Bulawayo and Sherwood in Kwekwe to Hwange.
ZPC’s Engineer Forbes Chanakira who is Unit 7 and 8 project manager said the cost of relocating Ingagula suburb residents was not included in the project budget and as such the power utility has to raise the funds separately.
Hwange Units 7 and 8 project will cost about US$1,5 billion.
Eng Chanakira said the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) gave ZPC an ultimatum to relocate Ingagula residents before commissioning the expansion project.
“There are about 400 households that need to be moved to an alternative place before Unit 7 and 8 can be commissioned and that means there should be schools, clinics and water among other social amenities. We are looking at US$60 million and we hope we will be able to unlock funding. We may not be able to implement it in time because this is a cost that came after the project had been finalised,” Eng Chanakira told Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo during a tour of the project on Tuesday.
The suburb has Gebhuza High and Ingagula Primary schools as well as Ingagula Clinic among other amenities.
Alternative land has not been identified for the relocation.
Regarding communities that will be affected by the powerline, Eng Chanakira said engagements are underway with concerned parties as some of the areas are farms belonging to companies.
Affected communities where people will be moved are Dete in Chezhou area in Hwange district, Bambanani Village in Tsholotsho, Gwayi Siding in Lupane, Sawmills, Epping Forest, Stevenson Farm, Kloof Farm, Hope Fountain, Kensington and Woolandale Farm all in Umguza as well as Mazwi village in Khami.
Some of the affected land belongs to Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC), Rodor Properties and MacDonald’s Bricks.
Eng Chanakira said valuation of the affected land is being done.
Matabeleland North Provincial Development Co-ordinator (PDC) Mrs Sithandiwe Ncube who was also part of delegation that toured the power plant, said there is “need to revisit the issue and try to engage Ema about the Ingagula issue.” — @ncubeleon