Sanyati Growth point turned into magirosa

It used be one of the developed rural service centres in the country boasting a thriving estate, cotton ginnery and growing housing sector.

Sanyati Growth Point was a model for many areas in Mashonaland West in the late 1990s.

Back then Sanyati district produced the best cotton crop.

Supported by a thriving retail sector, Sanyati Growth Point became a shining example of rural development in Zimbabwe.

A growth point that did not only boast public service offices, Sanyati also had a thriving agro-based industry.

Sanyati was well connected to Kadoma by wide tarred road.

A decade later the growth point has fizzled out.

That tarred road is now a pothole-riddled strip – very difficult to navigate.

The road is now a sheer test of driving patience and has not been properly maintained, thereby heavily affecting the flow of traffic to the town and farther to Gokwe.

The present economics of cotton production have threatened to leave the once fast growing service centre a ghost town.

Most of the shops have been closed while a few still open are virtually empty.

Business is slowly grinding to a halt. Some buildings are now white elephants with broken windows and doors common. No one makes enough anymore to make their businesses viable.

There is no redevelopment plan in sight.

The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) Sanyati Estate and the Cottco ginnery that used to be biggest employers ground to halt leaving thousands jobless and scavenging for food.

Factories and processing yards are quiet. The current economic situation has taken a toll on the growth point and instead of pulling people it is actually pushing residents away.

Member of Parliament for Sanyati Cde Blessed Runesu Geza said the closure of ARDA Sanyati and recently the Cottco depot at Sanyati Growth Point is a serious drawback to development in the entire district.

The two companies were the constituency’s main employers.

“The closure of ARDA and lately of Cottco has made life difficult for many people in the district.

“Apart from full-time workers and their families thousands were employed as casual labour and would get some income from the two companies once a year.

“This has stalled development in the area. If you have been to Sanyati Growth Point before, you can tell that life has changed.

“The growth point used to be a hive of activity but now is a pale shadow of its former self,” he said.

Cde Geza said shops were closing and people relocating to their rural areas.

The hope that Sanyati Estates and Cottco would be revived has faded hence they can continue living in the township.

“Shops are closing and there is very little taking place at the growth to create employment.

“Most people are now employed in the small and medium enterprises sector and cannot afford to spend anymore,” he said.

But in Sanyati constituency not all hope is lost as Cde Geza has engaged ARDA management to revive Sanyati Estates.

“The discussions are promising and soon we will see something happening at Sanyati Estates.

“As you might have witnessed we have pooled resources to repair the Sanyati-Kadoma Road. We got some help from Zinara and in the next few days we will complete rehabilitating the stretch from Kadoma to Sanyati Growth Point,” Cde Geza said.

Sanyati Rural District Council chairman Cde Tawanda Tachiona said the main focus at the moment was the main road to Sanyati and Kadoma.

“Our greatest problem is that we wish that the road linking us with other centres is refurbished to ensure that we have enough transport. When it was fully functional the estates used to employ more than 3 000 people, both full-time and casual, during the harvesting period.

“ARDA operations must be revived soon to ensure that people benefit. We are hearing that there are many suitors who have visited the estate but nothing tangible has materialised.

“There are no jobs; we don’t know what to do with these children. The estate had a very large piece of land that has not been utilised,” he said.

The estate used to grow wheat, maize cotton and beans.

A former worker with Sanyati Estates, Mr Malvern Kamukosa, said they have watched the bushes grow into a thicket and hopes of a revival are now fading.

The trees are enjoying the fertiliser and manure left in the soil and growing so fast. It is unfortunate no one seems to care.

A number of partnerships that have been entered into by ARDA and private companies have suffered a stillbirth.

“It’s a tall order. The company will have to undergo a massive bush clearance and that costs money.

“Underground water pipes and that centre pivot will need repairs.

“That could have been avoided had ARDA maintained a skeleton staff to man the estate as they looked for an investor.

“We have not been paid and there is no possibility of getting that pay soon.

“The company is broke and it seems those tasked with its management have no idea on what to do. I wonder why they still draw these large salaries,” he said.

He added that like many others who have left the growth point, he would gladly leave the company compound for his rural home in Mt Darwin if he had money.

Unemployment has forced many people out of compounds and the township as they can no longer pay the rents. Only a few are soldier on.

Mrs Loice Ziyambi said she had relocated to her rural home after failing to eke out a living in the growth point.

“I now rent out my house at the ARDA compound for US$20 a month while I do subsistence farming.

“I use the money to pay school fees for my two children. I just wait for the revival of the estates,” she said.

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Horomba villager drowns 1 year old baby to please lover

GOKWE – A single mother from Gokwe who threw her one-year-old daughter into a deep well to please her lover who had promised to marry her, has been sentenced to 21 years in prison by the High Court.

Heartless mum drowns daughter (1), to please lover
Heartless mum drowns daughter (1), to please lover

Talent Bango, 23, of Horomba Village, Chief Njelele, Gokwe South, threw her infant Tanaka Simbaza into a deep well on August 24, in 2013 and she drowned.

The toddler’s body was found floating in the well four days later.

Justice Lawrence Kamocha of the Bulawayo High Court, sitting on circuit in Gweru, found Bango who was pregnant from her lover when she committed the crime, guilty of murder with actual intent.

He sentenced her to 21 years in prison.

State prosecutor, Tafadzwa Mupariwa, in aggravation said Bango had committed the crime to please her boyfriend who had promised to marry her if she got rid of her two children.

It was the State case that on the day in question, Bango took her daughter to the well and threw her inside and went back home as if nothing had happened.

 

When asked by fellow villagers where her baby was, Bango lied that she had been taken by some relatives to Kadoma.

However, four days later, the body of baby Simbaza was found floating in the well and a report was made to the police leading to Bango’s arrest.

The toddler’s body was retrieved and taken for post-mortem whose results indicated that she had died from asphyxia and bronchoaspiration due to drowning.

 

Chief Mkoka man axes father,guilty of murder

A 31-YEAR-OLD mentally challenged man from Gokwe, who struck his father to death with an axe, was yesterday found not guilty of murder on the grounds of insanity.

Obey Mutero of Village Mutero, Chief Mkoka, Gokwe South went to a bedroom hut where his father was sleeping.

Once inside the hut, Mutero struck his 63-year-old father with an axe on the head and hand before leaving.

His mother, Lina Mpofu, heard her husband screaming and when she went to enquire, she found him lying in a pool of blood.

High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha considered Mutero’s mental state before delivering a sentence of not guilty by reason of insanity and said accused would be committed to Mlondolozi Mental Prison.

The State’s case was that on August 4 and at around 3am, the accused proceeded to a hut where his father was sleeping, armed with an axe. He struck his father once on the head and left hand with the axe before going away.

The deceased was discovered lying unconsciously in a pool of blood by his wife, who made arrangements to transport him to hospital.
He, however, died upon arrival at Gokwe District Hospital.

Government avails funds for Gokwe sinkhole

 Sunday News

GOVERNMENT, through the Cabinet committee on civil protection, has provided funds for the reclamation of sink-holes that continue to threaten critical infrastructure in Gokwe North and South districts, an official has said. Gokwe North district administrator Mr Fortune Mupungu told Sunday News last week that reclamation work on the sink-holes was set to start “any time from now” following the provision of funds.

 

Mr Mupungu was, however, not in a position to reveal the amount made available, but said the money was enough to successfully carry out the reclamation exercise.

Last year Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Midlands Province Cde Jason Machaya said about $500 000 was needed to reclaim the sink-holes and prevent them from destroying infrastructure in Gokwe town.

“So far we have not done anything but work on reclaiming the gullies is set to start anytime soon now that funds have been made available. We recently received communication from Government that funds for the exercise were now available.

“I’m not yet sure how much the money is but it should be enough to carry out the exercise. We are also working with other stakeholders like EMA to see how best we can correct the situation permanently. We highlighted the urgency of the matter to Government last year and we are glad that they responded positively,” he said.

Gokwe magistrates’ court building, Government complex, Zesa offices, surrounding residential area, and other buildings are under threat from four sink-holes that have emerged in the town.

One of the sink-holes has already cut into the road from Gokwe South District Hospital to Gokwe town centre, forcing council to close the road.

A team of engineers from the Ministry of Local Government Public Works and National Housing was dispatched to the cotton farming town to assess the gravity of situation.

The team came up with recommendations of a raft of measures needed to be employed to avert danger.

Mr Mupungu said Government was looking forward to working with Gokwe Town Council on reclaiming the sink-holes.

 

He said work on the sink-holes would commence as soon as the funds were secured.

Previous efforts by Gokwe Town Council to reclaim the sink-holes in 2013 proved fruitless as they have continued to grow especially during the rain season.

The ever-growing sink-holes have caused panic among Gokwe residents who fear for their lives.

People, who use buildings at Gokwe Centre, are living in constant fear that their buildings might one day be swallowed by earth owing to the sinkholes.

Mr Isaac Munemo, who runs a restaurant in Gokwe town, said: “Things seem to be getting worse and worse with each day and the fear is growing just about at the same rate as the gullies.

“Everyday you wake up thinking that you will go to work to find your property swallowed by the earth. I feel there is a need to urgently attend to this challenge before it becomes a disaster.”

His sentiments were echoed by Mrs Susan Makore, who said the sink-holes not only posed a threat to infrastructure but to human life as well.

“Imagine if one of the buildings is to collapse while people are in there. It will be a disaster. There is a need to avert the situation before it really turns into something regrettable,” she said.

Meanwhile, infrastructure, which was destroyed by floods which hit Gokwe North District last year, is yet to be rehabilitated due to a lack of funds.

The district needs more than $800 000 to rehabilitate roads, bridges and schools that were damaged by torrential rains which pounded the area in January and February last year.

A total of 11 bridges and nine schools in the district were damaged by floods last year with reports that three more bridges were swept away by floods this year.

The 11 bridges, four on major roads in the district, were completely destroyed and require reconstruction, cutting communication between the district and other parts of the province.

Sink-holes are a recurrent problem in Gokwe North and Gokwe South districts owing to the Kalahari type of soils found in the two districts.

Sink-holes are classified as a geologic hazard that can cause extensive damage to structures and roads resulting in costly repairs.

They even threaten water supplies by draining unfiltered water from streams, lakes and wetlands directly into the underground water supply.

Sink-holes can appear to have opened overnight, but the majority of them evolve over time, developing long before any surface evidence is detected.