By Chitownews reporter- Admire Mutize.
In an ambitious project that is set to breathe life in the comatose Chitungwiza economy and create hundreds of job opportunities, the caretaker council running the affairs of the beleaguered Chitungwiza Municipality revealed plans to turn disused and dilapidated council-owned beerhalls/beer gardens into prime real estate by building high-rise family apartments.
The innovative urban renewal project was revealed by Caretaker Council Chairman- Mandudzo Pawadyira at the 8th Meeting of the Caretaker Council of Chitungwiza Municipality held at Council Chambers on 25 January 2018.
The local authority owns more than ten beer halls/gardens located in the heart of communities and at shopping centres across the town. With household names such as Katanga, Nyatsime and Zengeza beer gardens- the council owned properties are currently not utilised as patrons now prefer smaller privately owned joints such as nightclubs and bottle stores.
“Three council owned beer gardens and beer halls have been designated to pilot the project and investors have been engaged. The valuable council properties were leased to former council employees who are failing to pay rent citing declining economic conditions thereby denying council of much-needed revenue”, said Pawadyira.
The planned high-rise buildings is set to transform the skyline of the sprawling Chitungwiza town and improve living conditions for hundreds of families who will be able to purchase their units under a hire-purchase agreement with Council and the investors funding the project.
Council Owned and operated Beer halls and beer gardens in Chitungwiza were once vibrant nerve centres of urban social and cultural life in their heydays in the 1970s and 80’s. Patrons from different social backgrounds flocked through their doors to take advantage of discounted liquor prices and free live musical and cultural performances.
Beerhalls also incubated artistic talent in the performing arts industry especially in music with legendary Chitungwiza based musicians such as the late Mr-Chitungwiza- John Chibadura, Madzibaba Nicholas Zacharia and Sungura king Alick Macheso having used such venues as launch pads early in their illustrious careers.
Chitownews requested for more details on the planned High-rise apartment building project from Chitungwiza Municipality’s Public Relations Officer- Mr. Meya- his response was lukewarm and evasive
“It is still premature to delve into the matter since there are a number of issues still to be considered” said Mr Meya in a whatsapp response to questions from Chitownews.
The secretive response seems to suggest that Chairman Pawadyira might have lifted the lid on the project prematurely before getting his ducks in a row or was facing internal resistance to what is certainly his signature and legacy project.