Redcliff residents unite to construct ‘small’ bridge

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…seek assistance to complete project

Simbarashe Fenton M

It is a cold and windy day in Redcliff as residents fight to develop their area, some women are busy offloading stones from a haulage truck whilst others have taken a small rest so that they can drink some tea. On the other side, men are mixing concrete and passing it to the builders as they work on their ‘small’ bridge project along a shallow stream.  The target is for the residents to have easy access to connect Hove via Madhobha road through to the upper Simbi Park.

The Shallow stream is usually filled with sewerage flow, and flooding during the rainy season, posing a challenge to school children, and residents as they try to navigate through. This encouraged the residents to come together and contributed the resources necessary for the structure that is almost 100% complete as we report. The local business owners have played an important role as they chipped in with cement, food, and other important resources to boost the morale of those at work.

“Residents have shown once again that they can do better in terms of development through the construction of this bridge.  Crossing this stream has been a major challenge for quite some time, but the power of community is manifesting, and I am happy residents have done this on their own,” said a Simbi Park resident who identified himself as Nickstine Chingwaru.

Speaking in an interview with this publication, one of the members of the steering committee on the project, Faith Mhishi mentioned unity of purpose as the first recipe for the success of the project. She said the majority of funds, and labor are coming from well-wishers as well as residents who keep on volunteering for the community cause.

“…residents have played a pivotal role in fronting this initiative. They have done a great job, to be honest. So what happened is we approached the council as a committee, and we were told that the road has failed to meet the proper standards. We then lobbied for permission to have our own bridge since we have been having this challenge for almost 22 years. Mayor Masiyatsva and Councilor Pick then assisted us to get permission from the Engineer to construct this ongoing and almost complete project.

The ‘small’ bridge nears completion, but assistance needed in completing project

“We made use of the steel pipes which the council had left long back when it tried to fix the issue, so residents raised the necessary funds, and contributed the majority of the resources. We also got assistance from our Legislature Honorable Mukapiko who donated cement and river sand. The mayor also chipped in with his own contributions.

“We are almost done with the project, we need this bridge to be completed as soon as possible, it should have been opened this week, but we have fuel challenges to transport the gravel and finish our task. We continue to appeal for assistance in any way so that our community will have a better bridge because currently, the road is closed,” she said.

Information gathered by this publication shows that the Town Council could not do anything to assist the residents because the road is not on the official plan. This did not do well with the residents who viewed it as an excuse for failure as the official road remain in a sorry state. When asked for comment Redcliff Mayor Cllr Clayton Masiyatsva reiterated the council’s position that the road was not on the official plan.

“According to the Approved Simbi Park layout plan there is no road in the area, hence the council cannot take it as a task to construct a ‘footbridge’. Personally, I have contributed cement to the construction not on behalf of the council, but as an individual in support of the children who walk through that area going to school. As a council, we are going to work on the major road before the rainy season. Currently, the grader is in Rutendo, Grasslands there, after that Simbi Park will be next,” said Cllr Masiyatsva.

While speaking to this publication a resident by the name Dazo (not his real name) argued against the council’s view while attributing everything to failure.

“We have heard them say that the road where residents are constructing the bridge is not on the plan, but the one on the plan is not being fixed. So we wonder why they should not assist in the construction of the bridge so that it should be the one being used right now. This road where the bridge is being constructed is a shortcut for residents and their vehicles. It is reliable and even council vehicles make use of it often,” he said.




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