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Govt implored to remunerate neighbourhood watch committees

Legislators have implored the government to remunerate neighbourhood watch committees for the services they offer in their communities.

The parliamentarians, during the question and answer session, noted that neighbourhood watch committees play a pivotal role in securing their areas and they work hand-in-glove with the police hence they deserve to be paid for their services.

Member of Parliament for Shurugwi North Ronald Nyathi inquired from the Minister of Home Affairs what the government is doing to remunerate the neighbourhood watch committees.

“The members of the Neighbourhood Watch Committee work very hard, especially in connection with cases of stock-theft in rural areas.  What is the Government doing in terms of their remuneration?” Nyathi inquired.

MDC-A legislator Dr Ruth Labode asked if there are some committees that are preferred to others, citing that in Bulawayo, community members make their own contributions to pay the committees.

“I just wanted the Minister to clarify more on the neighbourhood watch teams – are there special ones registered with the Ministry of Home Affairs, those that are being paid?  In my area in Bulawayo, we have the Neighbourhood Watch Committee which we pay as households and what I am asking is, are we able to apply for guns for our private Neighbourhood Watch Committee whom we are paying?  Do we approach the Minister of Home Affairs and say this is our neighbourhood watch for this area and we begin to supplement their payments?  How do we go about it?” queried Dr Labode.

MP for Binga South, Joel Gabbuza, suggested that the government makes an effort to provide uniforms for the committees.

Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Ruth Maboyi in response acknowledged the services provided by the committees and said there are some who get uniforms and incentives while others do not.

“It is very true that members of the Neighbourhood Watch Committee work very hard. These people are well known in the community and they work very hard, they work hand-in-glove with police officers.  Some of them have got uniforms and when they perform their duties, they wear their uniforms,” she said.

“Some are also given stipends but I do not have the figures because it is different, depending on when they were employed, their rank and what duties they do.  A special constabulary is just like a constable.  If you want the figures, I will bring them to you next week.”

The Deputy Minister said the committees are valued and prioritized as most of them stay within communities in rural areas and in urban areas.

“While police officers stay five kilometres away from the rural areas, the Special Constabularies stay close to us and that is where we report our cases.  Your questions and suggestions have been recorded. I will come to you, probably next week after I consult with my Minister.  However, what I know is that in rural areas, those special constabularies are known at police stations,” she said.

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