HWANGE Local Board (HLB) town secretary Pastor Ndumiso Mdlalose says Government is making concerted efforts to incorporate seven wards in concession areas under local authority administration.
Pastor Mdlalose has expressed optimism that the seven wards under companies’ administration would soon be incorporated under HLB. Although Hwange urban has 14 wards, five of them are under Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL)’s administration with the National Railways of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Power Company overseeing one each.
“The chief director for urban local authorities has advised us that the issue (of incorporation) is receiving attention, and that specifically, the re-drawing of Hwange urban boundaries will be attended to this year through the ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) delimitation exercise,” he said.
Pastor Mdlalose said a blueprint on how the incorporation was to be carried out was jointly prepared by the HLB and HCCL and submitted to the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works for recommendation.
“The Local Board and Colliery agreed in principle to incorporation. The President gave an instruction to the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works when he officiated at the Hwange Power Station expansion project to implement the incorporation,” he said.
Pastor Mdlalose said the seven wards, which fall under concession areas are being excluded from benefitting from any Government funding and programmes. The town secretary also hinted that the local authority would also use the incorporation of wards to push for its quest for town status. “Incorporation will allow us to have a proper Master Plan for Hwange urban. It will enable people to see the perpetuation of Hwange beyond coal mining because we have other sectors of economy.
“On our part, in addition to the incorporation, we also need to renew our application for elevation of status from a Local Board to a Municipality or City,” said Pastor Mdlalose.
Ward 9 Councillor Fani Chirwa says the delay in incorporating seven of Hwange urban’s wards under HLB’s administration is stifling development and rendering policy makers ineffective in carrying out their duties.
Cllr Chirwa said failure to have the seven wards under the local authority’s supervision had reduced her and other councillors in those particular areas to subdued roles in their respective communities.
“Implementing any developmental programme is difficult as it has to go through the company. I’m just recognised as a political figure with no administrative role in the community,” she lamented.
The policy maker has to be content with playing supportive roles to community initiated programmes such as coordinating financial assistance for bereaved families through residents’ groupings as well as facilitating non-governmental organisations to sensitise residents on policy issues.
“If the issue of incorporating the wards was brought on board, it will mean whatever comes in terms of service delivery in my ward, I will be actively involved in overseeing it,” said Cllr Chirwa.
Ward 9 comprises part of Lwendulu and Sinderella compounds as well as Thompson Junction residential area. Cllr Chirwa said the delay in integrating the seven wards under the local authority’s administration was to blame for the continued colonial settlement set-up, which people are being subjected to in her area of jurisdiction.
“We have this issue of shared public ablutions, which we use here. If we were incorporated, council will have a budget towards (rectifying) that, either through Wash or any other programme. We will definitely have a way of fixing that wrong. It’s something that should have been done away with long back but because we are not incorporated, the company running the premises concentrate mainly on its core business (coal mining). It only managed to put up ablution facilities at few house in some sections,” she said.
Cllr Chirwa also said wards in concession areas are losing out on most Government funding programmes, implemented through local authorities.
“When we do our budget we consider Ward 1 to 7 since the rest are in concession areas. This is a disadvantage to us (who are in concession areas) especially when Devolution Funds are disbursed. The Government will look at our small population and allocate us a small budget and this doesn’t encompass the whole town,” she said.
Cllr Chirwa also noted that her ward was failing to develop social amenities as a result of being under a concession area.
“We have no schools in this ward, what we have are sporting facilities (netball, volley ball and soccer grounds) and a bar. Of course the school is just across the road but it’s in another ward. If only we were incorporated we would have constructed schools using funds set aside for such purposes,” she said.
“The Local Board and Colliery agreed in principle to incorporation. The President gave an instruction to the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works when he officiated at the Hwange Power Station expansion project to implement the incorporation”