The building work for the expansion of Manyame Referral Hospital at Manyame Air Base on the southern edge of Harare should be finished by October.
The development is part of Government’s efforts to improve the welfare of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
Besides upgrading the main hospital of the defence forces, Government remains committed to providing decent, modern accommodation for all army and air force members in line with the drive to attain Vision 2030 of an empowered upper middle-income economy.
Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri yesterday toured Manyame Air Base to assess the state of accommodation and construction work taking place there.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri, who was accompanied by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube and National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe, said that given the nature of the military servicemen’s job, it was important for them to have decent accommodation.
“Firstly, I want to thank the two ministers who took this invitation seriously to come and join us in a fact-finding tour at Manyame Air Base to establish the state of accommodation in our cantonments and also to see progress towards the expansion of Manyame Hospital here,” she said.
“I must say this visit is the second leg of our visit we started yesterday in Manicaland Province. The uniformed forces are the heartbeat of this nation. We must appreciate that they may have to pay the supreme sacrifice by providing peace and security, which is a very key ingredient for us to be able to succeed in any economic development.
“So accommodation for our forces is very critical. It is our sole responsibility to make sure that we create a conducive environment for them to have some comfort and be able to undertake the very difficult mandates, that are constitutional, before them.”
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said it was encouraging that ZDF commanders had made their own initiatives to curtail accommodation shortages.
“We are hoping that with the presence of the Minister of National Housing, we will be able to work together technically, to come up with a roadmap to address some of the challenges that we discovered in this cantonment,” she said.
The minister said it was inspiring to note that the expansion of Manyame Referral Hospital’s structure would be completed by October.
Prof Ncube said under the Government’s Emergence Infrastructure Rehabilitation Programme, most housing units in cantonment areas will be remodelled to meet modern standards.
“I am very pleased to have been on the ground visiting this base to assess the projects that are on the ground and also to understand the living conditions and welfare for our servicemen who provide us with security,” he said.
“We went around to take a look at the various living quarters for our serving officers. One thing we realised is that there is need for maintenance.
“So we are going to come up with a taskforce on Monday in order to allocate resources and also programme the maintenance aspects. We require the remodelling of the housing units, partitioning them and creating privacy, among other things, as part of the Emergency Infrastructure Rehabilitation Programme.
“The other area is water provision for this area; we are aware the water works needs to be upgraded. The piping really cannot withstand the pressure so we will deal with water reticulation so that we can modernise the whole place,” he said.
Minister Garwe said Government had adopted new technology that is expected to considerably aid the delivery of low-cost houses as envisaged by the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), with plans to deliver 470 000 houses and flats by 2030.
“I am here as Minister of National Housing to assess the type of accommodation in all our cantonment areas throughout the country: the suitability of them, relationship to the aspirations of Vision 2030 that His
Excellency (President Mnangagwa) pronounced, looking at delivering Zimbabwe from where it is to an upper middle income economy status by 2030,” he said.
He said Government had floated tenders to spearhead the programme and the response from both local and foreign companies was positive.
Commander Air Force of Zimbabwe Air Marshal Elson Moyo said: “We are very excited about the visit, I hope it is going to solve the very serious accommodation challenges within the Air Force of Zimbabwe if the promises given by the ministers come to fruition and we ourselves being able to maintain the current infrastructure we have.”