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Zimasco solar project to affect school, houses


KWEKWE – The construction of an Early Childhood Development classroom block at Chiedza Primary School in Mbizo high density suburb has been stalled due to the proposed Zimasco 100KW solar plant farm project, which is set to affect 18 other houses in the suburb.

The construction of the ECD block at the school grounds is currently at foundation level, and if the proposal to erect power lines for the solar plant project is given the greenlight, the school will have to look for a new site.

Zimasco has however, started engaging the school authorities and 18 families who are likely to be relocated to pave the way for the construction of solar plant power lines.

Residents however, need answers of where they will be relocated to and the type of compensation they will be given if they are moved.

They urged Zimasco to engage them wholesomely as some of the affected elderly people have sentimental attachment to the properties they have been occupying for years.

Residents said the company should take note of the health of the people, especially the old people as some of them have High Blood Pressure, giving an example of a woman in Mbizo 19 who developed a mild stroke after receiving the news.

“I have been residing in this eight-roomed house for 51 years which belonged to my late parents. What bothered me is that the ward councillor and the Mayor informed me that we were being invited for a meeting that concerns destruction of our houses to pave way for the solar plant at Sebakwe.

“We asked for the reasons for the choice of the power lines route instead of ZIMASCO option. We asked them if they will be able to build our houses as they are failing to be responsible for residents’ health.

“But what surprised me is that the District Development Coordinator, council employees, ZRP were not part of the meeting. I later talked to the Provincial Minister of State (Owen Ncube) who then assured me that our houses will not be destroyed,” said a concerned resident, Keith Chamunorwa Charakupa of Mbizo 1.

Another elderly woman, who acquired her Mbizo 1 house in 1994, said she is having sleepless nights over the issue which has also triggered her High Blood Pressure.

“Who is going to build the houses,” said another resident adding that they did not want sub-standard houses.

The residents said they will raise more concerns when Zimasco officials visit their houses.
At the meeting, Zimasco assured the affected residents that they will engage a local company to build the houses.

In an interview, Kwekwe Mayor Councillor Albert Zinhanga confirmed that Zimasco had started consulting the affected residents to find an amicable solution.

“Zimasco is engaging each and every household. So, when they are done, they will come to us and give us the feedback. I know they started the process but it’s not the process of evicting but it’s a process of consulting the owners of the houses,” he said.

Zimasco bought a piece of land between Mbizo suburb and Sebakwe River where it intends to establish a 100MW solar plant.

The project will generate electricity for Zimascoʼs smelting operations as well as Kwekwe City Council’s sewerage and water treatment plants with excess power being fed into the national grid.

The company said the project will be located on the land between the railway line on the West, tributary to Sebakwe River on the East, road to Mbizo Sewage Plant on the South and Sebakwe River on the North.

Zimasco Projects Engineer, Simon Dzoro said the grid impact assessment carried out by ZESA showed that some families may have to be relocated.

“What follows is that we will be moving to each household to understand finer details like the size of the land, the size and value of the house and so on. So far indications are that we might be going for an asset-to-asset compensation where the families will have their assets replaced by another asset,” he said.

Eng Dzoro said the construction of the power line will take about three months while the construction of the solar plant may need three years.

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