New suburb caught between two local authorities

Morris Bishi

Masvingo – The ownership of the city`s new suburb Victoria Range is divided between two local authorities stalling its development and it has gone for a long time without critical services like water, sewer and refuse collection.

Victoria Range is part of Masvingo City but is in Ward 7 under Masvingo Rural District Council (MRDC) and its councilor Bennegina Mudambiranwa reports to MRDC leaving the area without a representative at Masvingo City Council.

The area with over 15000 houses was a State land which was developed through various land developers under MRDC.

The suburb does not have sewer connection and refuse collection and residents are not paying service charges to the city council. Only a few with water connection are paying for water charges.

Mudambiranwa said she used to have challenges during the first days but is now used to the arrangement. She said she reports challenges brought forward by residents of the suburb to MRDC despite the area being located in the City. She also confirmed that they are not paying service charges.

“I am the councilor of the area which covers Victoria Range and I report all issues to the rural council. The arrangement is complex to the extent that it used to give me challenges but I am now coping. There is an MOU signed between the two councils where our executives communicate with their colleagues at the City Council. We are only paying for water charges since the area does not have a sewer connection as well as refuse collection,” said Mudambiranwa.

Masvingo City Mayor Collen Maboke said the arrangement has consequences since the area is not represented in city council and challenges affecting the area are normally not raised in full council meetings. He said the City Council is losing potential revenue since they are collecting nothing in terms of service charges from the suburb.

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