Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Vice President Kembo Mohadi has called for speedy investment in education and health facilities among other key sectors in Beitbridge town, in recognition of its rapid socio-economic growth in the last decade.
He said the town was one of the fastest growing urban settlements in the country.
The Vice President said Beitbridge was the face of the country for many visitors entering from South Africa and it played a key role in national economic development, hence the need to accelerate its modernisation.
He made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Matabeleland South, Cde Abednico Ncube, on Friday evening, at a function held to celebrate the town’s elevation to municipality status.
President Mnangagwa elevated Beitbridge into a municipality on March 9, as part of the Government’s thrust to facilitate urban development.
“To secure the future of our young generation, it is key to invest in the education sector,” said VP Mohadi. “Given the population growth, most primary and secondary schools are overwhelmed in terms of enrolment.
“Although Beitbridge carries a large population, there are no tertiary institutions in the town, resulting in locals travelling to other towns including Gwanda, Masvingo, Bulawayo and Gweru to access these facilities.
“Opportunities, therefore, exist in the establishment of colleges and universities. The municipality is dreaming and dreaming big of the University of Beitbridge and we understand that efforts are underway to secure land for this milestone project.”
VP Mohadi said it was important to establish more health institutions in the border town, which is one of the busiest inland ports in sadc.
Beitbridge District has one 140-bed referral hospital which is a centre for 180 000 residents and an additional 13 000 on daily transit.
VP Mohadi urged development agents to consider establishing another major hospital, either as a private or public private partnership with Government.
“Investors should also take advantage to create special doctors’ facilities, which people are currently accessing in other places like Bulawayo, Harare, South Africa and India,” he said.
“In addition, the Great Limpopo River which borders the municipality of Beitbridge with South Africa presents numerous tourism development opportunities awaiting exploitation.
“These include the development of accommodation, nature parks, water front, water games, wildlife viewing, water sporting and canoeing facilities, among others.”
VP Mohadi said the upgrading and modernisation of Beitbridge border post would also contribute to the town’s economic development.
He challenged authorities to explore other revenue initiatives to boost service delivery expectations which came with municipal status.
VP Mohadi emphasised on the need to adopt environmentally friendly policies to improve resilience and “greening” of the town.
“The city fathers should also attend to the issue of stray livestock roaming the town’s streets,” he said.