Various projects to speed up growth of Lupane 

Source: Various projects to speed up growth of Lupane | The Herald

Various projects to speed up growth of Lupane

Leonard Ncube in LUPANE

VARIOUS projects being spearheaded by the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa’s administration are expected to speed up growth of Lupane Town, which is the Matabeleland North provincial capital.

Lupane is located about 171km from Bulawayo along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway but has no built-up town centre, save for a small business centre, two service stations, a bus rank and a single bank among a few other services.

Lupane centre has a population of about 10 000 people according to a Zimstat 2017 survey, while the whole Lupane District population is about 200 000.

Matabeleland North’s population was above 700 000 in 2012 when the last census was held.

Lupane was given town status in 1999, marking the start of a long process of relocation of various provincial services and offices from Bulawayo to Lupane centre.

Finishing touches are being made on construction of the Lupane Government Complex to house almost all provincial Government offices while Lupane Provincial Hospital construction is underway.

The hospital will be the first in the country to house all of its staff on site.

Lupane State University construction continues and some faculties have since been moved from Bulawayo to the main campus in Lupane, while the Provincial Registry offices are already functional, with Bubi-Lupane Dam and irrigation also operational.

One project that needs urgent investment is Somhlolo Stadium which is a traditional venue for Independence Day and Defence Forces Day celebrations as the facility remains an ordinary village ground.

The Lupane Local Board, which manages Lupane town, has a long term plan to develop the stadium into a 60 000-seater facility.

The local authority has also set aside land for 100 commercial and industrial stands, six lodges and a shopping mall.

In his Independence Day speech, President Mnangagwa said one of Matabeleland North’s flagship projects — Gwayi Shangani Dam — will be completed this year.

He said the dam will conclusively resolve the perennial water challenges in Bulawayo and result in a vibrant agricultural sector in Matabeleland North to meet the needs of the province and create export led productivity, leveraging on Victoria Falls and Hwange airports.

The President said there are other national infrastructure projects that have been implemented like the Lupane water supply and irrigation schemes which are a reflection of Independence, freedom and development.

In separate interviews on the sidelines of the provincial independence celebrations, officials in Lupane said the town is on a growth radar.

“We are grateful for what Government is doing especially here in Lupane which we feel will help our town grow,” said Lupane Local Board chair, Commissioner Monica Ngwenya.

Lupane East Legislator Mbongeni Dube said Lupane Town is growing.

“We would like to thank President Mnangagwa for the projects he is doing countrywide and as Lupane we are one of the beneficiaries of the projects.

“Lupane is growing and the perennial water problem is now history because of the Bubi-Lupane Dam and every house is now getting water at Lupane centre. There are plans for a fishing project on the dam while the irrigation which has been expanded to 600ha means that hunger will be a thing of the past in Lupane with people relying on farming for food and jobs.”

He said besides major projects at Lipane centre, clinics and schools have also been built through devolution funds in Lihlo, Ziqalabemi, Mbondo, Hilltop and Pupu.

Lupane West Legislator Martin Khumalo said the Government was making significant efforts to develop the provincial capital.

“Of particular interest is the major water project which is Lake Gwayi-Shangani which will take water to Bulawayo and Matabeleland North Province as well. The dam will transform the provincial capital into other provincial capitals like Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo.

“In the next 10 years Lupane population and industry will have grown and so we are happy that projects like water have been prioritised because this will be key hence we commend President Mnangagwa for his efforts,” he said.

Lupane also has natural methane gas whose extraction will also stir growth.