Sukoluhle Ndlovu, Gweru Correspondent
THE Government has blasted Gweru City Council for delaying construction of State-funded Small and Medium Enterprises trading facilities at Mtapa Market site.
The project which is funded through the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development was supposed to have commenced three months ago following the groundbreaking ceremony.
Speaking during a tour of the site on Wednesday last week, National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Dr Daniel Garwe expressed his disappointment towards the local authority and issued a two-week ultimatum to the local authority to start construction work.
“We don’t want people who come here to score cheap political goals on a project of national level. The Government and co-operating partners have put money for the commencement of the project. We want progress here yet the local authority is coming with excuses and we don’t want to hear that nonsense. We have condemned the team that is on site and we want to get people who are willing to work. After two weeks I will come back to inspect the progress and if nothing has been done we are firing everyone involved in this project,” he said.
Minister of State of Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution Cde Larry Mavima also echoed the same sentiments saying the council was sleeping on the job.
“The Government provided all the required building materials and now the council is saying it does not have manpower, how is that possible and why are they not hiring new employees if there’s a shortage because there are so many unemployed people out there? This shows that your management skills as a council need to be sharpened.
That’s not a valid excuse because we gave you all you need for the project to start,” he said.
Gweru City Assistant Housing Director Mrs Unity Jaji said the delays have been due to a lack of manpower.
“There was a groundbreaking ceremony in April but the project failed to commence because we have challenges like shortage of manpower. We have a few employees in that department and in the meantime they have been working on sprucing up Ascot Stadium and other projects. But we have since mobilised manpower and the project will start soon,” she said.
Mrs Jaji said the local authority was also undertaking other national programmes like rendering financial assistance to a children’s home in Chiredzi.
“Apart from doing various projects in the city, the local authority is also busy with other national projects like assisting Chambuta Children’s home in Chiredzi.”