Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is transforming Inkunzi Beer Garden in the Belmont industrial area into factory shells for residents to undertake several income-generating projects.
Renovations at the facility are almost complete.
This is a departure from the past when council privatised beer gardens around the city.
Some of the beer gardens that are now being run by private individuals are still functional while others were closed.
Inkunzi Beer Garden, located in Ward 6 which includes Bellevue, Newton West, Barham Green, Montrose, West Sommerton, Southwold, Donnington and Belmont suburbs as well as Sidojiwe Hostels, will see a number of business activities taking place there.
The beer garden is being leased to a committee composed of Ward 6 residents.
When renovations are complete, welding, carpentry, cooking and repairing of motor vehicles are some of the business activities that will be at the facility.
An entertainment and leisure centre is expected to be established to complement the structure, as the venue was a beer garden.
A Chronicle news crew visited Inkunzi Beer Garden, a stone’s throw from Sidojiwe Hostels and some of the factory shells have been set up and partitioned.
Work is being done to clear the area of overgrown vegetation.
Ward 6 Development Committee chairperson Mr William Zulu took the Chronicle news crew on a tour of Inkunzi Beer Garden.
“People will be doing carpentry, welding, cooking meals and repairing motor vehicles. Also, it’s a bar and we want another section to be renovated so that we revive the beer garden.
“The people operating the different businesses will be from Ward 6. As the business people are paying rentals, the money will be put into our ward retention account and at the end of the year, we shall see how much we have made. From that money we shall budget what it will be used for, such as fixing street lights and tarring roads within the ward,” said Mr Zulu.
He said the committee is comprised of members from different suburbs in the ward.
“Our thinking is that everyone must be represented in the ward. A residents’ chairperson from each suburb serves on the committee. Also, when we have jobs, we choose perhaps five from each neighbourhood. But they must be represented equally,” said Mr Zulu.
His deputy Mr Cornelius Nyathi, who lives at Sidojiwe Hostels, said Inkunzi Beer Garden was handed to residents in the ward to undertake income-generating projects due to facilitation by the previous councillor Thabita Ngwenya in 2015.
He said the lease to the bar was handed over to the committee last month.
“This is for us to find ways to generate income. The people who will be given first preference will be from Ward 6. There might be people from other wards,” said Mr Nyathi.
Ward 6 Councillor Tawanda Ruzive said most renovations have been done and residents such as the youth will be empowered.
“It’s about 97 percent complete and this place will have welding, carpentry and motor vehicle repairs.
“These cubicles will house people who are doing these things, which is something that is set to empower the youths in the area,” Cllr Ruzive.
He could not give a timeline as to when the factory shells will be operational.
“There are people who have submitted their applications to occupy those factory shells. What is left are processes such as site inspections so that the structures comply with best industry practices,” he added.
Bulawayo council spokesperson Mrs Nesisa Mpofu did not respond to questions emailed to her on Monday over the matter.
Article Source: The Chronicle