The Sunday News
Johnsias Mutonhori, Midlands Correspondent
THE Gweru City Council has turned down a request by a private construction company, Bentach Resources to construct a shopping mall at council works yard in the Central Business District (CBD), saying it was not ready for such a development.
This came up during a full council meeting recently where it was revealed that Bentach Resources had requested to partner with the local authority to build the mall.
However, councillors voted against the request, arguing that council was not ready for the development.
According to the latest council minutes, Ward 16 councillor, Tawanda Magidi tried to convince other councillors saying the shopping mall could lead to more revenue to the city than keeping a works yard in the CBD.
“I would like to urge the council to consider the request by Bentach which I think is a good move and a good project for our city. A shopping mall can create more revenue for us and it can beautify the city,” he said.
However, Deputy Mayor Councillor Cleopas Shiri, who was chairing the meeting, led the voices against the idea, saying council was not ready.
“It might be a good project but the council is not prepared for that,” said Clr Shiri.
Bentach Resources recently renovated Kudzanai Bus Terminus into a state-of-the-art facility. The project saw councils coming to Gweru, touring the project as they sought to emulate it.
The company is also renovating another commuter omnibus rank and flea markets in the city.
Meanwhile, speculation suggests that the request was rejected merely in order to avoid monopolisation of infrastructure renovation services in the city.
A councillor who requested anonymity said the issue was deliberated before the full council meeting.
“The request was already pre-discussed and completely rejected by councillors who preferred to play defence games in the expense of development and progress.
They just want to get rid of the monopolisation of renovation services by one company. The reactions shown by the councillors is a display of what was predetermined,” the councillor said.