FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has a huge responsibility of managing the Treasury and implementing measures to stabilise and grow the country’s economy among other issues.
However, despite his demanding job, Prof Ncube makes time out of his extremely busy schedule to interact with Cowdray Park residents and understand their concerns and challenges almost every weekend.
Unlike what the public has been accustomed to where prospective candidates make promises, and sometimes fail to deliver, Prof Ncube has introduced a different kind of politics where his projects speak to his vision for Cowdray Park, a seat he is keen to win on behalf of Zanu-PF.
While projects that he has initiated have benefitted individuals in the sprawling suburb such as the driving lessons and emergency response health courses, he has also rehabilitated roads, and drilled 30 boreholes to ease water challenges in the area.
In the Hlalani Kuhle area where some houses do not have a proper sewer system, the minister has also chipped in, and soon homes will be connected to sewer.
In an interview, Prof Ncube’s ultimate vision is to modernise Cowdray Park and transform it into a smart city.
“I’m showing concern as a prospective MP that I’m with the people, I support them, and I really do this from the heart. We can only build Zimbabwe if everyone works together and is focused on their task,” he said.
“I urge every Member of Parliament to take their job seriously and put a shoulder to the wheel in the development of their country. Ilizwe lakhiwa ngabanikazi balo.”
Prof Ncube said he had already engaged Bulawayo City Council in a bid to get land to set up an industrial park where ideas will be transformed into a finished product, creating employment in the process.
He said once he gets land to establish the industrial park, he will also apply that the area be turned into a special economic zone to attract investment.
“We have said we want to create a smart city and I have engaged the city council. I want some industrial land and we are going to create an industrial park,” said Prof Ncube.
“I was very impressed by the displays, some of you will go into that industrial park. I will also speak to some of my colleagues in Government so that it is given a special economic zone status.”
Prof Ncube said connecting the suburb to WiFi is another economic activity that will transform lives of entrepreneurs.
The minister said in the coming weeks he will be engaging in a virtual business platform where he will lead discussions on how the public can benefit through empowerment projects.
“We have put in place 10 hotspots with extenders to provide free WiFi going forward. This will enable residents in Cowdray Park to make calls that use data, but the important thing is that this WiFi is an educational tool,” he said.
“In the next few weeks, we will be running programmes for entrepreneurs live on Facebook and whatever platform that we think is best.”
Prof Ncube said anyone with a smartphone will be able to listen and watch these programmes.
“We will be able to cover more areas because we will be doing these programmes virtually. So, the WiFi has got that educational facility and we will make maximum use of it,” he said.
“We are not going to just play around by visiting various websites.”
Prof Ncube said he has already attended to some roads that were no longer traffickable in the suburb and drilled boreholes to improve access to water.
“The other important issue is the problem of sewage. We have begun in earnest to fix the sewage system and we have various areas that we have chosen that are a priority because the situation is very serious,” said Prof Ncube.
“We are working on those areas to make sure that sewage is modernised. It is not proper for an urban area like Cowdray Park to have Blair toilets as that is unhygienic.”
Prof Ncube has also complemented the police by installing a surveillance camera monitored by cops to help reduce and detect criminal activities.
“That camera is linked to an app and the Member-in-Charge can just check and get a full view of everything that is happening there. We are trying to show how we can use technology to enhance security,” he said.
“It is very important for the police to effectively police the area. We are also concerned with drug abuse, especially among youths and there is a need to develop a rehabilitation centre to address the youth challenges.
Source – The Chronicle