The City of Mutare  on 18 December 2019 launched a massive urban renewal project at a site in the city’s oldest high density suburb, Sakubva.  President Emmerson Mnangagwa commissioned the project, dubbed Sakubva Urban Renewal Project, through a ground breaking ceremony. The ceremony was witnessed by the two Vice Presidents of Zimbabwe, Hon General (Rtrd) Constantino Chiwenga and Hon. Kembo Mohadi, Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Hon. July Moyo, Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba, senior government officials, mayors and town clerks from other urban local authorities, City of Mutare councillors and officials and residents of Sakubva.

Sakubva was established in 1925 and most of the houses were constructed during that time and are now in a poor state and inadequate for the families occupying them. The project will see the demolition of dilapidated houses and the construction of high rise flats with the capacity to accommodate 50 000 people when complete.

According to the City Council Public Relations office, Phase I of the project, which is being bankrolled by BancABC to the tune of US$40 million, will see construction of modern high rise apartments, Sakubva Flea Market and Green Market. Under Phase II, a world class stadium will be constructed, Over 20 000 locals will be employed while about 25 000 provide downstream services.

In his welcome remarks, the Mayor of Mutare Clr Blessing Tandi said that the urban renewal program required innovative approaches for its successful implementation. He added that there was greater need for  strong interface  between the Mutare City Council and the Central Government in order to develop the city.

President Mnangagwa appreciated the vision of the City of Mutare which he said dovetailed “with our national vision 2030 of creating a middle-income economy”. He commended the Sakubva Urban Renewal model adding that it was in line  “with our quest to ensure that all infrastructure and housing developments are accompanied by facilities that will see the gainful employment of our people”.

The President went on to say that the urban renewal project would also enable the transfer of technologies such as solar, waste-to-biogas and other sustainable technologies.

“My government has granted this Sakubva Urban Renewal Project, National Project Status to ensure speedy implementation and completion. We expect to see progress on the ground as early as March 2020,” said the President