The Glen View Furniture Complex which was gutted by fire three months ago had 5 000 people working there when it was built to accommodate only 450, the Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises, Sithembiso Nyoni, told Parliament on Wednesday.
Nyoni said out of the 5 000, two thousand were actual carpenters and 3 000 provided services.
“When this complex burnt down, the Ministry together with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing found that the problem really, apart from the criminal activity that took place was that people were very crowded. It is supposed to be accommodating 450 people only, but now it is accommodating 5 000 people,” Nyoni said.
Asked what her ministry was doing to provide those who were using the complex an alternative place to work from, Nyoni said her ministry had found a private sector partner who would put up a complex but it would only accommodate “one hundred best carpenters”.
She could not say what would happened to the remainder of the carpenters and was asked by Speaker Jacob Mudenda to go to the complex, establish the facts and then make a ministerial statement.
Q & A:
*HON. MANGWENDE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development, Hon Nyoni about the Glen View Furniture Complex which was burnt down three months ago. A lot of people were making a livelihood out of that but three months down the line, nothing has been done. Among the people that were making livelihood are the disabled, youth, men and women. What is the position with regards to the resuscitation of that project? I thank you Hon. Speaker.
THE MINISTER OF SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES AND CO-OPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT (HON. NYONI): Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to thank the Hon. Member for asking such a very pertinent question. Glen View Furniture Complex was and still is the largest SME furniture complex in the country.
Hon. Minister having answered the question facing the Hon. Member.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Minister, please address the Chair.
HON. NYONI: Hon. Speaker, it was and still is the largest furniture complex in the country. It was accommodating 5 000 people; 2 000 were actual carpenters and 3 000 were providing services. When this complex burnt down, the Ministry together with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing found that the problem really, apart from the criminal activity that took place was that people were very crowded. It is supposed to be accommodating 450 people only, but now it is accommodating 5 000 people.
So, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing is availing land so that we can expand and accommodate these people. My Ministry has found a private sector (partner)that is going to assist in constructing an alternative work place. We are going to choose one hundred best carpenters and move them away from this complex so that they start a new complex altogether to avoid congestion.
The Hon. Member is very correct that urgency is needed. So, we are inviting private sector to come and work with us to provide infrastructure. Having said that, I want to thank the people in Glen View, they are doing something themselves and some of them have started putting up shades for themselves. So, work is already going on but the plan to upgrade it and to move some of the carpenters is underway Hon. Speaker.
HON. MUNENGAMI: Thank Hon. Speaker and I also want to thank the Hon. Minister for answering that question. I am also a Member of Parliament for that area. I remember asking the same question to the Vice President regarding the Glen View complex. The Hon. Minister said they have some plans of building another alternative complex whereby they are going to accommodate…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Munengami, you are repeating what the Hon. Minister has just said. What is your supplementary question?
HON. MUNENGAMI: Yes, that is what I am trying to do.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Try harder! Try harder!
HON. MUNENGAMI: Thank you. The Hon. Minister has got some plans to build an alternative complex. My question to the Hon. Minister is, what is going to happen to those people who are going to be left behind? Yes, at the moment they are going to build an alternative, what about those who are going to be left behind. As we speak right now, there is no complex to talk about.
HON. NYONI: I said that the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, which is responsible for providing land for infrastructure to SMEs and the local authority or the private sector can provide the actual infrastructure. Provision of infrastructure is not the responsibility of the Ministry of SMEs. The Ministry of SMEs has the responsibility to work with various stakeholders to see that infrastructure is provided. Having said that, the SMEs themselves; if you go there, they are already putting up their own structures, which is correct and proper because we are encouraging self reliance but the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing has to help them to make sure that the structures are within the local government standards.
HON. MUNENGAMI: On a point of Order Hon. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – This is a serious matter because we come from Glen View, there is no structure at all at the Glen View Complex which was burnt down. I wish the Hon. Minister could go there, I can even accompany her. There is no structure at all, I was there this morning, let us not mislead the House here – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]
THE HON. SPEAKER: The supplementary question Hon. Minister is; what is going to happen to those who are going to be left behind in terms of the construction of a new structure?
HON. NYONI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The truth of the matter is that the SMEs there are already putting their own structures –[AN. HON. MEMBER: Munoitireiko nharo.] – Aiwa handisi kuita nharo, it is a fact – [Laughter] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, may I suggest to Hon. Minister Nyoni to please go and check the facts on the ground – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – Order, I have not finished, garai pasi. I suggest that the Hon. Minister should go to the ground and when you find what is there, come and make a Ministerial Statement.