Beitbridge elects new mayor

Thupeyo Muleya

Beitbridge Bureau

BEITBRIDGE’S Ward 1 councillor, Mr Peter Pirato Mafuta, has been elected as the town’s mayor.

Cllr Mafuta of CCC was elected unopposed on Monday, and immediately declared that he would continue with the town’s transformation thrust set by the Second Republic.

Cllr Mafuta will be deputised by Ward 6 Councillor Mr John Manatsa. 

He replaces Mr Munyaradzi Chitsunge who was Ward 2 councillor after the 2018, while Mr Manatsa replaces Cllr Agness Tore from Ward 6.

Beitbridge Town has six elected councillors and two others from the women’s quota system.

In his acceptance speech, Cllr Mafuta said he has an open door policy, and accepts all ideas from all people that will help transform the town into a medium city.

“Let me thank my fellow councillors for the nomination and subsequent election to the post of mayor of Beitbridge,” said Cllr Mafuta.

“I am advised the 2023 municipal budget speech ran with the theme: ‘Accelerating Economic Transformation’. The theme is premised on the National Development Strategy 1 anchored on moving the nation towards a prosperous and empowered upper middle-income society by 2030.

“Our 2023 budget was responding to the various issues raised by stakeholders through the 2022 consultative process.” Cllr Mafuta said key issues to be tackled include the need to permanently deal with sewer blockages, provision of potable water in Tshithaudze, Madinginye and Khwalu suburbs, as well as infrastructural development to match the border upgrade spearheaded by the Government.

He added that upgrading the sewer system, tarring of roads, completion of stands servicing, completion of the main rank, and public lighting, were some of the immediate concerns.

In the first six months in office, Cllr Mafuta said they intend to start the construction of a new clinic, complete a toilet block at Alfred Beit Primary School for the school to open next January.

The completion of the Dulivhadzimu Bus Terminus, which is long overdue, would be attended to, he said.

“We are also going to improve public lighting and I am advised that we have entered into an agreement with Econet to use some of their base stations to install public lights,” said Cllr Mafuta.

“In addition, it is critical for us to start offering stands on the new central business district, which will make our town look new and modern.

“Our town has faced challenges of water shortages, roads in need of resealing/ reconstruction, the need to control vending, control illegal occupation of council land, low payments by rate payers and the slow pace of stand servicing.”

To ensure the local authority remains viable, Cllr Mafuta said there was a need to increase revenue generation, particularly through payments in foreign currency. 

He said the development will see workers getting a rise in the foreign currency component of their salaries.

The new mayor also said he would focus on council’s vision of becoming a ‘smart city’, which provides “excellent sustainable services to the community by 2030”.

“Service delivery is currently subdued due to financial constraints as witnessed by the low budget expenditure. Residents and stakeholders have bemoaned deteriorating service delivery,” he said. 

Beitbridge Municipality had budgeted to redevelop or renew the oldest part of Dulivhadzimu Township, which is located north of Dulivhadzimu Stadium, including the stadium itself, and west of Makhado Road, extending westwards to include the old bus terminus and the Wamlala stream.

The area has buildings that are not only decaying, but also do not satisfy the minimum requirements for habitable buildings.

Mr Chitsunge challenged the new leaders to be involved in community programmes and ensure they move along with national vision. He said election time was over and expects the new leadership to hit the ground running.

Beitbridge District Development Coordinator, Mrs Sikhangezile Mafu-Moyo, said they were looking forward to seeing accelerated infrastructure development in the town.

“The Government has set the tone for development in our town and we expect to see the local authority complementing these efforts,” she said.

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