FRANCISTOWN: Francistown Mayor Sylvia Muzila has dispelled fears that the Vision 2022 project, launched mid last year amid much fan fare, might be dead. Muzila made the remarks recently as she welcomed Mmegi into her office to discuss the first six months of her term.
Muzila was elected mayor late last year. The aim of the Vision 2022, which is driven by the FCC, is to turn Francistown into an investment hub in the north. “We are in the process of appointing a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to spearhead the Vision 2022.
“For the past few months we have been discussing the terms of reference for the CEO and we are now left with an appointment, which we will do soon.
Once the CEO has been appointed, the Vision 2022 activities will be visible,” she said, adding that the CEO will report directly to the city mayor.
In addition, Muzila explained that the FCC and the Vision 2022 council recently visited the Selebi Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) on a benchmarking exercise.
“We want to copy a model used by SPEDU for the Vision 2022.”
She also noted that in her first six months notable progress has been made in the area of waste management. She said the FCC has so far bought an additional three refuse trucks to bring the total council fleet to 15. “In addition, seven companies have also been roped in to assist the council with refuse collection around the city, especially in locations closer to the Central Business District.
“Fifty members of our staff have also been engaged to do litter picking within the CBD. We are really eager to improve the cleanliness of the city. Already there is a slight improvement in the cleanliness of the city,” she said.
The mayor noted that the council recently acquired a P4, 3 million waste compacting machine which is situated at the Dumela landfill in order to help address issues of waste management.
“Again, what we are doing with regard to waste management is part of our plans to attract investors for the Vision 2022,” she said. Muzila said she was also impressed by the level at which property owners in the city have been paying their rates. “Last year between April and June, P4.1 million was collected as rates which property owners owed the council. “This year at the same period of between April and June we have collected P6.9 million as rates owed to the FCC,” she said.
Muzila attributed paying of rates to public education by the council through various forums in recent months. As for outstanding service levy payments, she said she did not have readily available figures, but she indicated that more people have been coming forward to settle their outstanding payments.
Muzila also said that the number of people who have started developing their residential plots in the city impressed her.
“Although I do not have numbers, after I issued a warning that the council would repossess undeveloped plots, we have witnessed some people who have come forward to develop their plots,” he said. Furthermore, the mayor said she was also worried by the declining fortunes of Francistown sports teams particularly soccer clubs. “I met the teams recently and understood that they have financial challenges. I will be meeting companies soon to encourage them to sponsor local teams.
“If more businesses can partner or sponsor soccer teams then the game will be commercialised. “If the game is commercialised, it means that teams will be able to operate as businesses, in the process creating employment to mostly the youth associated with the game,” she said.
Another major project currently being undertaken in the city is the construction of a secondary school at Gerald Estates.
Muzila said construction activities were recently halted at the site earlier this year in order for the government to do another Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study. “The first EIA study was done a long time ago and was now outdated. I am hopeful that the school will be ready for the next year January intake,” she concluded.