By Monalisa Matongo
MASVINGO City Council is wantonly turning away investors on spurious technicalities while ignoring the glaring developmental shortcomings of the city, it has been learnt.
In late 2018, council turned down an application by renowned businessman, Wonderful Mutangiri to establish a private hospital in the industrial area saying the location was not suitable.
The city fathers claimed that the industrial area was noisy and that the surroundings were filled with impurities that were hazardous to human health.
A close source, however, said Mutangiri was denied a license because he did not pay a bribe which senior officials had expected.
The Public Works and Planning Committee, which is chaired by Cllr Tarusenga Vhembo of Ward 3, recently rejected an application by Mr A. and E. Masocha to build a hospitality school due to ‘incompatibility of the proposed development with the current land use’.
Council minutes state that Stand Number 1394 Beryl Road, where the investors intended to build the hospitality school, was designed strictly for industrial use and could, therefore, not be altered for any other use.
“The predominant usage, currently motor vehicle repairs, would not be compatible with learning”, the minutes read.
In the previous full council meeting, some councillors, however, felt rules were being selectively applied as Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) was a few years ago allowed to establish a campus in the same area.
“We have to be consistent when considering issues. We cannot reject a proposal for a learning institution in an area with a running university campus,” said Cllr Godfrey Kurauone of Ward 4.
A council insider who spoke to TellZim News said a domineering cabal was running the show in council, vetoing all proposals that did not suit its corrupt interests.
“Why not offer alternative land to investors rather than just turn them away? Who in their right minds would just say no to a potential investor and turn away when every urban area is so desperate for investment?
‘Rhodene was designed as a residential area but many people have applied and obtained change of use certificates for their properties, and you now find many offices and pre-schools there so what’s the difference?
“This is the reason why this so-called city is such a pathetic sight. We are known for being a place led by rude and overzealous hangers-on who just want to line their pockets. That’s why even Mvuma is doing better than us. Had Mtukudzi applied to build his Pakare Paya Arts Centre in Masvingo, you can be sure he would have been turned down,” said a council insider.