Calls for the closure of Ntabazinduna Police Training Depot on the outskirts of Bulawayo have resurfaced with Magwegwe legislator, Anele Ndebele, imploring National Assembly Speaker, Jacob Mudenda, to facilitate the return of the facility to the Matabeleland North community as a vocational training centre that it was before.
The centre used to train local youths in vocational skills such as welding, carpentry and others before the government took over the institution and turned it into a police training depot sometime in 2006.
Villagers in the area, situated within Umguza Rural District Council have in the past called for the return of the facility to the community to no avail.
Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni in 2015 threatened to close both the police training and the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services depots on allegations the two centres were of no use to locals.
Raising a point of privilege in the August House Tuesday, Ndebele said returning the facility to the community was a matter of public importance, considering it was the only vocational centre that the province had.
“Whatever happened then seems to have happened at the highest political level and to disentangle it, we must operate it at that level. I implore your office to appeal to the executive to return the only vocational skills training centre for our youth back to the ministry because Matabeleland North has no vocational skills training centre.”
Ndebele, who said Matabeleland had been disadvantaged by the later former president Robert Mugabe’s administration further explained: “Other provinces have five or six (vocational training centres). Youth from as far as Binga are made to travel up to Gokwe to access skills training. I am glad the second republic has pledged to put to an end whatever was happening between us – those who live in Matabeleland and the previous administration.”
Mudenda, however, refused to be drawn into the issue.
“Do not mix up my role as Speaker of this Assembly and what the Executive needs to do,” said Mudenda.
“Some of these issues are better directed to the Executive directly either by a question during question time, oral or written. I cannot act as a commissar to go and plead the case of honourable members.”
He, however, said he appreciated Ndebele’s concerns.
“While I sympathise and totally agree with your observation, but I cannot act from this chair accordingly,” he said.
“I was going to suggest to you, Hon. Ndebele to do full justice to this issue. You may raise a motion that will be debated fully and get our Parliament to pronounce itself on the matter accordingly because it is quite a substantial matter that should not be left to some negotiations between the chair and the Executive.”