Councillors call for decentralisation policy to decongest Byo CBD

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) says there is a need to push for the decentralisation policy to decongest the Central Business District and utilise facilities in various suburbs.

The matter was raised by Ward 13 councillor Frank Javangwe during a full council meeting held Wednesday.

He said there is a need to engage the owners of malls around the city as there is an influx of residents shopping in the CBD.

“We have an influx of residents in the CBD but there are buildings that were constructed in the city of Bulawayo such as complexes, can the council engage owners of these complexes such as Old Mutual so that they can reduce their rentals for shop spaces. If you notice at Nkulumane Complex shopping mall, there are many vacant shops showing that there is no activity, so many people are now coming to the CBD  and hence too much littering as they come to buy most of the stuff in the CBD,” he said.

“If possible, the Council should engage Old Mutual to reduce their rentals so that people can rent those shops so that residents can get what they are looking for as well. At the moment, there are no banks there and many big shops have closed, please assist us there,” said Clr Javangwe.

Mayor Solomon Mguni said the decentralisation process which started in 2020 during the Covid-19 era has been fading, adding that there is a need for the local authority to push for the decentralisation policy for the process to be effective.

 “The property owners, for instance when you look at Nkulumane Mall, it’s not fully occupied and even Entumbane complex. I think it’s something that as a council, we need to push this decentralisation policy, it must be seen to be happening on the ground, of course, we need to interrogate why the banks have left those complexes and people now want to come to town for their businesses yet you can go and buy your vegetables, groceries at the nearby shops,” he said.

However, Ward 4 Councillor Silas Chigora said there is no demand in the available shopping malls.

“When it was developed, there was an expectation that there were going to be houses around that mall and up to now, yes there are some houses that have come up but I think there is no demand in terms of shops there and our public transport,” he said

Councillor Chigora said if public transport buses are removed from the CBD and start picking passengers from the shopping centres, it’s something that can contribute positively.

“We are supposed to be picking people from Nkulumane but they are still picking people from town, those going to Plumtree, Botswana, you see them picking from 12th Avenue and Fourth Street and I am sure the ZOU University is also complaining, they are making noise there. It’s something that can contribute positively if we remove those buses from town and they start picking from those shopping centres where they are supposed to be,” he said.

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