Brian Musawenkosi Musabayane
The history of smart cities can be traced back to the 1970s, when Los Angeles created the first urban big data project.
Over the years, countries have adopted the idea of smart cities which can also be referred to as digital cities. They are well known for digital technological advancements which enable the city to be self-sufficient in terms of smart grids, meters and state-of-the-art infrastructure.
The Government approved the policy on introduction of smart cities through Cabinet, and Copper Meadows Properties, which the Sharon Valley project owners got their permit through the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works.
The project has 100 percent Zimbabwean ownership.
Sharon Valley will be the first privately owned smart city. Copper Meadows Properties (Pvt) Ltd is the registered owner of the land. The project is set to attract people from different demographics.
Sharon Valley Smart City will have state-of-the-art infrastructure that includes schools, hospitals, an aerodrome and industrial sites. It will provide all the services people in a community require without having to travel outside the city. The development borders on the Runde River and falls under the jurisdiction of the Runde Rural District Council (RRDC) in Zvishavane, Midlands province.
Zvishavane town was originally developed as a residential centre for the asbestos mine workers, which started operations in 1916.
Zvishavane town serves as a centre providing services to surrounding mines, commercial farms and adjacent rural communities. This is one of the major key steps towards the development of the country and it falls in line with President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030 of achieving an upper middle income-economy. Property World (Private) Limited are the selling agents for the project which is set to begin towards the end of this month.
It will include smart hospitals, smart clinics, and a green city concept. This is a project which will have a first phase on 350 hectares and a second phase on 328 hectares.
The town council was established in 1979.
The promotion of alternative energy is encouraged with the use of solar water heaters and solar energy to power the households. The Government has put in place initiatives to promote solar and energy and the developers are committed to promote clean energy within the Sharon Valley project which will see all the people within the city making use of green energy.
The population of Zvishavane has grown subsequently in the past few decades due to the mining activities from companies such as Mimosa, Murowa Diamonds, Sabi Gold Mines and Shabani Mine hence with the growing population growth, there has been need for more accommodation and people will be interested in having their own private property. The project consists of 1 260 high density stands of approximately 300 square metres, 663 middle density stands of approximately 400 square metres and 430 low density stands.
Accommodation for students from Midlands State University and the Artisanal School of Mining will improve as the development sets to better the living conditions for the residents of Zvishavane and to give the town world class status. The banks will provide mortgage funds to qualifying applicants and to those who wish start their businesses in the valley.
Prescribed Assets Status
The project has been awarded a prescribed assets status by the Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) and Cabs Custodial Services have been appointed trustees of the project. Every pension fund will also need to lock in assets as and has proven to be the safest asset during these in inflationary times. It is in the insurance law for pension fund managers to invest a certain percentage into prescribed assets. This falls in line with Vision 2030, where Zimbabwe is going through the primary stages of a radical economic transformation that will witness the country becoming a middle-income economy by 2030.
There are 69 individual commercial stands occupying a total of almost 14 hectares of land and industrial area is well located within the development to allow for workforce to live in close proximity to factories without the need for transportation and to boost the economy.
Zvishavane town is mainly driven by mining operations in the area, in 2018 the Government embarked on resuscitating the Shabani Mashava Mine SMM since its closure in 2004. The Sharon Valley development will attract business opportunities for miners and business people within the area as well as provide high class housing accommodation for those who desire to own their own piece of land.
Murowa Diamond Mine is situated 40km from Zvishavane town in an area called Mazvihwa, which is under Zvishavane district. Murowa is one of the most successful diamond mines in Zimbabwe, which has capacity of about 1,2million carats per annum and is part of RioZim. The company is a critical employer in the Midlands province with a workforce of 610 people, 26 percent comprising of women thereby Copper Meadows is expected to provide decent accommodation and commercial activities for these workers, families and the community.
Security smart cities have been known to provide among the best security services and are the future of communal security. A big part of this ICT framework is essentially an intelligent security network of connected objects and machines that transmit data using wireless technology and the cloud.
Citizens engage with smart city ecosystems in various ways using smart phones and mobile devices, as well as connected cars and homes.
Pairing devices and data with a city’s physical infrastructure and services can cut costs and improve sustainability. The community of Sharon Valley will have improved energy distribution, streamline trash collection, decrease traffic congestion, and even improved air quality with help from the use of intelligent security.