Land developers given ultimatum Private land developers must improve how they do business and protect home-seekers

George Maponga

Masvingo Bureau

Private land developers behind the construction of more than 12 000 new housing units in Victoria Ranch suburb have been given an ultimatum to improve the drainage system in the sprawling suburb which was at the receiving end of damaging flash floods on Wednesday last week.

Rampaging flash floods left a trail of destruction in Victoria Ranch and the adjacent Runyararo West suburb, resulting in some low lying homes being flooded by storm water.

Household goods estimated to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars were destroyed in the wake of the flash floods, which also temporarily made roads impassable by both human and vehicular traffic.

This was after heavy rains pounded the city beginning the previous day, forcing a small stream from Victoria Ranch which is a tributary of Mucheke River, to burst its banks and flood adjacent houses because of flood water throwback.

The flash floods were blamed on the absence of a storm drainage system in Victoria Ranch, the main catchment of the small stream.

Victoria Ranch does not have storm drains, while the road network is almost non-existent or in bad shape, putting pressure on land developers behind the suburb.

Masvingo Acting Town Clerk Engineer Edward Mukaratirwa disclosed that the joint operational committee, which superintendent over developments in Victoria Ranch, gave the land developers an ultimatum to build storm drains in the suburb.

The committee is chaired by Masvingo district development coordinator Mr Roy Hove and comprises representatives of Masvingo City Council and the rural district council together with land developers.

According to Eng Mukaratirwa, there was an agreement on the need for land developers to work on a storm drainage system.

“While the flash floods that hit Runyararo West could have been a result of climate change, there is also the issue of absence of storm drains in Victoria Ranch and we have since engaged land developers in the suburb to work on that and also attend to roads,” said Eng Mukaratirwa.

“We met them as the joint operational committee for Victoria Ranch and gave then a deadline of up to December 2021 to have attended to the drainage system in the suburb. In council-owned areas the drainage system is in good shape.”

Engineer Mukaratirwa said the local authority would closely work with the land developers in planning for the storm drainage system.

Preliminary indications were that houses affected by the flash floods had suffered different kinds of damage.

“There was destruction and damage in some of the houses there (Victoria Ranch) and Runyararo West, but our teams from the welfare department are still trying to quantify the damage and hopefully they will be done by end of next week,” said Eng Mukaratirwa.

Fear and uncertainty has gripped residents of Victoria Ranch and Runyararo West who fear the flash floods will worsen as the rainy season unfolds.

Victoria Ranch suburb is still lagging behind in services such as sewer and water reticulation, while the road network is still substandard.

The new suburb is co-managed by the city council and Masvingo RDC where Victoria Ranch is located.

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