Masvingo City Council has resolved to take over refurbishment works at Mucheke Bus Terminus in a move aimed at bringing to an end the impasse between the local authority and transporters as the latter had resorted to use of the Central Business District (CBD) for picking and dropping travellers.
Minutes of the Public Works and Planning Committee meeting held on February 23, 2023 showed that council is set for the takeover.
“The need for expediting the refurbishment of Mucheke Bus Terminus was highlighted. It was proposed that, council should take over the renovation of the bus terminus instead of engaging a contractor since this was delaying the process. On the same note, it was also highlighted that council should also make an effort to find accommodation for people squatting at the same terminus,” read part of the minutes.
The issue of council driving all transporters as part of enforcement of an already existing by-law saw all nine councillors present during the meeting except Against Chiteme absent confronting management over the issue.
During the full council meeting held on February 27, ward 10 councillor Sengerayi Manyanga threatened to move out of the meeting in protest over failure to drive buses and other vehicles out of town to the bus terminus.
“Your Worship, it’s better for me to move out of this meeting unless the matter of driving buses out of the CBD is addressed. It would be better for council to give me even four municipal police officers to mann Croco Motors point (main pick up point along the highway to Harare and Bulawayo) and I assure you, the busses will move out,” said Manyanga.
However Town Clerk Edward Mukaratirwa suggested a more amicable solution to the problem saying plans are under way to create a mini terminus at Croco Motors and that would be convenient for travellers and transporters while at the same time ensuring some revenue is realised on the part of council.
“Instead of trying to employ a radical solution to the problem, it would rather be wiser to look for a practical solution to it. As management, we have looked at a number of issues in terms of coming up with strategies to ensure enforcement while at the same time considering resources to be used.
“As council, our resources are constrained such that on forcing these buses out of CBD, we may incur an expenditure of US$ 1 000 but realising an income around US$ 200. So it would be a score on driving them out but resources would have been wasted. Management suggestion was why don’t we put those resources towards improvement of the facility (terminus).
“Also in terms of our dynamics on travelling matters, we may also need to consider having an official pick and drop mini terminus at Croco Motors like the one down town at Metro Peech. We have already discussed with consultants of the firms working on Harare-Beitbridge (here in CBD) and agreed that they would surface the open space for us after which we will mark and demarcate the roads as well as putting a boom gate. That would be convenient for travellers and transporters,” said Eng Mukaratirwa.
He added that the construction of the highway that passes through Chimusana Bridge would also attract buses to the main rank in Mucheke and also the new CBD extension set for the area after Charumbira drive in the long run as people would access services similar to those in the existing CBD from that side of town.
Ward 5 councillor Daniel Mberikunashe also called for the need to bring to finality the issue of enforcing the resolution on buses though he accused those enforcing it of ‘lacking seriousness’.
“There is need to bring this issue to finality so that when we leave this meeting room, we know the truth concerning the matter. If the challenges require us to sit down again as policy makers and management, let it be the case,” said Mberikunashe.
Alderman Selina Maridza also expressed concern over the proliferation of new pick and drop up points mushrooming in and around the city as transporters defy the orders to leave the CBD.
Council has been locked in a battle with transporters as the former tried to push the later out of the CBD as there are no ablution facilities at such points making them not suitable for operating as mini ranks.