700 modern houses for the relocation of Lake Gwayi-Shangani

The Chronicle

Nqobile Tshili, columnist
The GOVERNMENT will build modern houses with access to social facilities for more than 700 properties which will be affected by the construction of Gwayi-Shangani Lake and water supply in Bulawayo.

Building modern houses will accelerate the achievement of an upper-middle-income economy, as envisioned by President Mnangagwa.

Communities living along the Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo pipeline will be affected, hence the need for relocation.

This was revealed by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka, in an interview following an inter-ministerial meeting held at a Hwange lodge before a visit to the Gwayi-Shangani Lake construction site.

He said the government has adopted a preliminary resettlement master plan for the communities that will be affected by the massive transformation project.

Dr Masuka said the relocation master plan is subject to adjustments after further consultation with affected communities.

Last Friday’s meeting brought together various ministries and ministers under one roof to discuss the progress made in the construction of Lake Gwayi-Shangani and its impact on communities.

The construction of Gwayi-Shangani Lake and the laying of a 245 km Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo pipeline is expected to have a huge impact on the region as it will boost rural industrialization through irrigation projects.

At least 10,000 hectares of land have been identified for irrigation projects, while a 10 MW hydropower plant will be built on the edge of the lake.

The plant will be integrated into the national grid, while the inflow of water to Bulawayo will cause the city’s supply dams in Matabeleland South to be weaned off for other development projects.

A quarry plant and a steel processing company that have been established at Gwayi-Shangani Lake are expected to continue to operate beyond the construction of the dam project.

Dr Masuka said the government will build better houses for the communities that will be affected by the Matabeleland Zambezi National Water Supply Project (NMZWP) to bring water to Bulawayo.

The project mooted more than a century ago is becoming a reality under the administration of President Mnangagwa, but better still, it will also ensure that Matabeleland contributes to the country’s food security.

“We have also looked at the relocation and reorganization of the 734 properties that will be affected and we have agreed that a master plan must inform this, but guided by the President’s Vision 2030. As such, we will not assess the houses and pay allowances, but we are building modern houses with rural service centers with all the necessary amenities for these communities to achieve Vision 2030,” said Dr. Masuka.

He said the relocation and reorganization plan should be inclusive and informed by consultation.

“The relocation master plan now implies that we have accepted preliminary reports from officials. Now they have to go to the communities led by their chiefs, the village chiefs and the chief and everyone.

A participatory approach, to say the president’s vision of a prosperous and self-sustaining upper-middle-income economy, leaving no one or place behind, means better households and better amenities for these villagers. The government does not compensate them for the houses they have lost. He builds again; it’s moving forward,” he said.

Dr. Masuka said commercial and communal irrigation schemes that will contribute to food self-sufficiency have been identified along the route of the Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo pipeline.

“We then looked at the irrigation component and we identified seven models of 200 hectares for the Vision 2030 accelerator, these are community irrigated perimeters in addition to 8,000 hectares for commercial irrigation. We also said that the five districts along the pipeline haul route to Bulawayo will benefit from these irrigation systems,” Dr. Masuka said.

Hwange, Lupane, Umguza, Binga and Bubi districts are the districts expected to benefit from the project. – @nqotshili

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