Residents volunteer data for master plan crafting

21 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Residents volunteer data for master plan crafting Harare residents at Town House to give their input towards the crafting of the Master Plan.

Suburban

Peter Tanyanyiwa Suburban Reporter

IN A remarkable display of civic duty, Harare residents have stepped forward to volunteer in the data collection process for the crafting of the master plan for the capital city.

The residents’ selfless efforts stem from concerns that the mandated deadline for the master plan’s completion could compromise the thoroughness of the process.

Typically, the crafting of a master plan takes approximately three or more years to ensure comprehensive and meticulous planning.

However, the City of Harare faces a daunting task to produce a complete master plan in a matter of weeks to meet the Government’s looming June 30, 2024 deadline.

The urgency surrounding the master plan’s completion has sparked anxiety among the residents, who fear that the hired consultant and the City of Harare may not prioritise their input.

Residents’ concerns were vividly displayed on Monday when they joined business owners and other stakeholders at Town House to make their contributions to the master plan. Overwhelming numbers turned up for the meeting and the council chambers were stretched to accommodate all who attended the crucial meeting.

Acting urban planning services director Mr Samuel Nyabezi said the city has made significant progress on the master plan despite the tight timelines.

The consultancy team led by Mr Trymore Muderere of Development Studio Africa, is fast-tracking the process, aiming to produce a blue print which normally takes three or more years to craft.

Chairperson of the Works and Town Planning Committee Councillor Takudzwa Dzumbunu emphasised the crucial role of residents in the process.

“It’s essential to engage residents for their input, as they are crucial stakeholders in the crafting of the City of Harare Master Plan. This is why we are calling for all Harare residents to lodge their input on all our platforms,” said Cllr Dzumbunu.

Mayor Jacob Mafume assured residents that they will have an extended period after the June 30 deadline to submit their input, ensuring continued community involvement in the crafting of the master plan.

The residents’ dedication to the data collection process highlights their hopes that the master plan will address critical issues such as congestion, unsanctioned developments, wetlands invasions  and the rampant construction of fuel stations.

Last week some Harare residents coordinated a petition against the proposed master plan which had been crafted without the input of ratepayers.

“The residents of Ward 17, spearheaded by the Ward 17 Residents and Ratepayers Association, hereby petition the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works to reject the proposed Master Plan made public for the first time on the City of Harare website on 11 June 2024.

“The Constitution of Zimbabwe, Section 68, subsection 1 gives every resident ‘the right to administrative conduct that is lawful, prompt, reasonable, efficient … and both substantively and procedurally fair’.

“Furthermore, the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act Section 15 states: ‘After adopting the master plan but before submitting it in terms of subsection (1) of section sixteen, the local planning authority shall place on public exhibition for two months a copy of the draft master plan with a statement indicating the time within which objections to, or representations in connection with, the draft master plan may be made to the Minister, with copies thereof being sent to the local planning authority; and give public notice of the place or places at which, and the period for which, the draft master plan will be exhibited in terms of paragraph (a) and the time within which objections to, or representations in connection with, the draft master plan may be made in terms of paragraph (a),” the residents said in their petition.

Residents’ objections to the draft Master plan are as follows:

  • The public should have been consulted throughout the planning process, up to the validation of the study findings that forms the basis of the proposals.
  • The legal procedure for consultations and publicity outlined above has not been followed and, according to the information on Facebook cited above, there is no intention of following it.
  • The legal requirement to make provision for the public to view and object to the draft plan two months before the plan is submitted to the Minister, as legislated in Section 16 (1a), has not been addressed.

Instead, the city proposes to allow the public merely to view it two months after it has been submitted to the Minister.

“We take this as a deliberate attempt to sideline residents and their rights to administrative conduct that is ‘lawful, prompt, reasonable, efficient … and both substantively and procedurally fair’.

“We have in fact never been consulted, although groups of residents have been liaising closely with both the Mt Pleasant and Mabelreign District Offices since 2016 in various ways. This ward has been represented by a home-grown residents association for the last four years. It is not the first time that we feel marginalised.

“In light of our many experiences of poor governance by the City of Harare over the past decade, including its failure to consult residents or take their views into account, its broken promises and its poor service delivery, residents hereby petition the Minister, in terms of Section 16 1–3 of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act to reject the draft Master Plan in its entirely and return it to the City of Harare, instructing them to meet their legal obligations,” reads the petition.

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