The government has set up a commission to assess the Hwange Local Board’s readiness to incorporate the Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) concession area as part of moves to upgrade it into a town.
In a notice, Local Government minister, July Moyo, said he had appointed a six-member commission to head the assessment.
“Pursuant to the application for incorporation of Wankie Concession Area into Hwange Local Board and upgrading of Hwange Local Board to a town, the Minister of Local Government and Public Works has in terms of Section 14 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) appointed the following Commission to assess the Hwange Local Board’s state of readiness for incorporation of Wankie Colliery Concession Area and upgrading to a town,” read the notice.
The commission members comprise of director Urban Local Authorities who was also appointed the chairperson, Mr F.S. Mbetsa, Matabeleland North director for Governance, Mr Tapera Mugoriya, Ms K. Bopoto Director Legal Advisory Services and Ms P. Mpofu Financial Advisory Services.
Other members include Ms. P. Mazivire- Spatial Planning and P.A.O Urban Local Authorities, Ms A. Takaendesa.
According to the notice, those wishing to contribute towards the proposals should do so in writing to the Permanent Secretary within 30 days.
The development comes at a time the mining town is being run by four administrators namely HCCL, Zimbabwe Power Company, National Railways of Zimbabwe and HLB. This has seen service delivery being adversely affected.
Meanwhile Hwange residents have welcomed the move arguing it would improve the governance system.
“We welcome the move by the local government to incorporate the concession area into Hwange Local authority as it will improve the governance system in Hwange. This is in line with section 274 of the Constitution and the Electoral Act,” said Fidelis Chima, Greater Whange Residents Trust (GWRT) coordinator.
He said the development would enable the council to generate revenue as it takes over service delivery.
“Remember we petitioned Parliament last year that the concession area should be included under Hwange Local Board and the move will change the status of the local authority as it will become a town instead of a local board. The local authority will now be able to generate revenue from the concession area. It will have jurisdiction on service delivery issues.”
Chima said it was sad that HLB had no jurisdiction in concession areas yet there were councilors from the areas a development he further argued disenfranchised residents.
The wards are determined in accordance with the Electoral Act.
“Hwange Local Board has no jurisdiction on service delivery at the concession area yet there are councillors there. Hwange Rural District Council was getting shop licences revenue when it is clear that the local authority is under Hwange Local Board. Councillors in the concession area are figureheads and incorporation will increase their role in the governance processes of the community.”