Looming town status excites Rutenga folk
MWENEZI residents have hailed the initiative by the local rural district council to push for an upgrade of Rutenga Growth Point into a town, as the development will bring critical services such as banking closer to them.
Rutenga is one of only two major business centres in Mwenezi that service more than 140 000 people in the remote district.
Residents said its upgrade into a town could spur economic growth in Mwenezi, with investment expected to flow into Rutenga.
There was unanimity during a recent consultation meeting held at Rutenga — attended by representatives of Nhewa Town Planners, Mwenezi RDC and residents — that upgrading of the growth point into a town was long overdue.
“We are happy with the initiative because turning Rutenga into a town will attract more investors, hence we will have many shops, banks and even bigger hospitals and other critical services compatible with this modern age. When services are closer to the people, they also become more affordable,’’ said Ward 18 resident Mr Paulos Mabhena at the meeting.
“If Rutenga becomes a town, it means improved recreational facilities. Our children currently have nowhere to relax save for roaming around the shops and this may force some of them to end up engaging in illicit acts like drinking beer and smoking,” he said.
Another Rutenga resident, Mrs Diana Dzinovei, noted that turning the growth point into a town will lead to the establishment of big processing companies and industries that create employment.
It will also stem the migration of young people from rural areas to major cities, she said.
Currently, residents are being forced to travel close to 200km to access banking services either in Masvingo or Chiredzi.
Mwenezi RDC chief executive Mr Albert Chivanga said council will continue consultations with residents in the district to enable council to implement programmes that are in sync with the people’s wishes.
Mwenezi has already started mobilising resources to engage a consultancy company that will draw plans on how to upgrade Rutenga into a modern town.
District Administrator Ms Rosemary Chingwe said upgrading Rutenga into a town is one of her office’s major priorities, as development would economically transform the entire Mwenezi district.
“It’s my second time to be a DA here in Mwenezi, so it means I should do something. We are tired of having an area which does not have banks, supermarkets yet we can do something about it. We want banks here at Rutenga, which is strategically positioned by being a transit point serviced by rail and road networks that link it with major cities in Zimbabwe,” she said.
Besides its strategic link with major cities in the country, Rutenga was also linked to Mozambique by railway line and to South Africa by road.