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Harare City warns govt

Harare City Council

ZIMBABWE is in danger of building luxurious “squatter camps” in the form of smart cities as the current concept is excluding consultation of key stakeholders, the Harare City Council (HCC) has warned.

This is coming at a time when the government is planning a major city in the Mount Hampden area whose planning stage allegedly snubbed the (HCC). Government mulls development of smart cities and has in the past indicated that the Smart City Concept was at the core of its desire to see a transformed urban setting across the nation.

Smart City is an umbrella concept that subsumes several sub-themes such as intelligent urbanism, innovative economy, sustainable and thoughtful environment, smart technology, intelligent energy, smart mobility, creative health among others.

It involves creation of sustainable economic development and high quality of life by excelling in multiple key areas including economy, mobility, environment, people, living, and government. However, sentiments at the Global Renaissance Investment (GRI) annual Zimbabwe Infrastructure Investment Summit and Awards held in Victoria Falls last week show that the process was being conducted in a skewed manner.

In his contribution to the deliberations, Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume said government planning was not placing HCC in any capacity nor consulting it.

“Why I say luxurious squatter camps is because we are concentrating on beautiful residential places without the requisite investment in the infrastructure that will be needed to service those huge settlements in terms of refuse collection, water and sewer.

“This also applies to the amount of work that needs to be invested in. I believe we should look at the hardware. We have the market and we can off-take products that can come from anywhere. But I'm not seeing where we are being placed and where we are being consulted in these things,” Mafume said.

“I’m not seeing the cities in our approach. Where are you locating the cities? Are they just hapless beneficiaries of good ideas and good approaches from government and international partners?”

As calls for the government to have a stakeholder approach on the planning stage of these smart cities intensified, Mafume said he (as mayor) and engineers were not part of the planning of the Mt Hampden City.

He argued that it was inevitable that Harare would service that city supplying services and infrastructure for that city.

The new city is expected to come up with new infrastructure that can easily attract investors while attracting various developments including the construction of banking halls, residential areas, government buildings, universities, technological and shopping centres.


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