BULAWAYO requires as much as 27 000 hectares of land within and outside its boundaries to meet the needs of residents and industry under a development strategy running until 2034.
Only 12 350 hectares are available for development, leaving a shortfall of just over 13 000 hectares, according to an assessment of Bulawayo’s operational masterplan by independent consultants Job Jika and Associates.
The current operational masterplan is more than 19 years old, having been prepared in 2000 as a review of the 1982 masterplan under the then 1976 Regional, Town and Country Planning Act.
“The operational masterplan plan is more than nineteen years (old) and the physical, economic, social and environmental conditions upon which the plan’s proposal were premised have changed and hence new planning challenges and issues have emerged,” reads in part the background to the review of the operational plan by the consultants.
However, Bulawayo deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube (pictured) said there was nothing odd about the city relying on a 21-year-old masterplan to meet the city’s development goals despite consultants noting that circumstances have changed, particularly the population which stood at nearly 700 000 as of the 2012 census. Independent estimates put the current population of the city at over 1.5 million.
“It’s a long-term vision. We cannot just change it will-nilly just because we are now in office. It does not have to work out like that. It’s long term and whatever policies we come up with should conform to the masterplan,” Ncube said in an interview.
However, this comes at a time the city is suffering urban decay with no major development projects witnessed in decades.
Major development proposals contained in the review of the 2000 operational masterplan involve the re-development of the city’s former transport hubs at Egodini terminus and in Makokoba, construction of sanitary landfills, roads, an integrated sports complex and truck stops.
The proposals also cite the need for the development of major commercial nodes/business parks, development and the upgrading of water and sewer treatment plants, primary and secondary schools, clinics, hospitals, police stations and major industrial establishments.
The planned Egodini Mall is failing to take off, several years after a South African contractor, civil engineering firm Terracotta Trading (Private) Limited, won the tender to upgrade the former Basch Street Terminus into a regional public transport hub in 2012.
The operational masterplan notes the need for more land to “meet the needs and requirements of 1 524 899 (population estimate) persons in terms of land requirements, housing, social and physical infrastructure services as well as other social and community facilities.
“Despite the fact that there exists some developable land within the current municipal boundary, the masterplan will need to allocate land outside the existing municipal boundary to meet the projected land requirements over the plan period. The land shortfall is as indicated…Bulawayo’s Land Needs and Availability: Land Needs: 27 995 hectares, land planned 2 500 ha, land available 12.350 ha…land needs (shortfall)13 145 ha.”
Council is currently failing to meet the demand for residential houses and stands, with the waiting list now exceeding 150 000 with less than 30 000 housing stands having been availed in the past decade.
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