Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo has appointed a commission to assess Hwange Local Board’s (HLB’s) capacity to incorporate the Wankie Colliery Concession Area as well as to be granted town status.
Hwange currently has dual administration. Part of the settlement is under HLB, and other areas are concession areas under the Hwange Colliery Company, National Railways of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Power Company.
HLB Town secretary Ndumiso Mdlalose told The Standard that Hwange qualifies to be granted a town, municipality and city status. He said:
Even prior to the incorporation of the Hwange Concession Area, that is, at the current status, we still meet requirements stated in [Chapter 29:15 of] the Urban Councils Act.
Among the requirements stated in the Act, where we meet the set standards are the size and density of the population, taking into account the population living in homes.
To this end, Hwange is experiencing massive infrastructural development, most notably housing construction.
The extent to which the municipality is a centre for state services, such as law courts, the provincial headquarters for the police, the biggest prison facility in the province, it has an army establishment, an aerodrome, road and railway infrastructure and stations, among others as required and stated in the Urban Councils Act.
Apart from that, the largest coal-based power station in Zimbabwe is also based here in Hwange.
In view of all the above, we are surely worth far much more than a Local Board.
That is why the minister has set up the commission.
The HLB runs wards 1 to 7 and has been pushing for town status, and incorporation of the concession areas.
In 2019, Hwange residents petitioned Parliament to finalise the incorporation of wards 8 to 15 located in concession areas to the HLB.
Mdlalose said the dual administration of Hwange has hindered the town’s growth and development.