By Vumani Mthiyane
Gwanda residents have implored the local municipality to diversify its revenue streams by exploiting some of the natural resources found in the town to improve service delivery.
The gold-rich town is also endowed with natural resources lime ore, granite as well as livestock-rich grazing land.
Residents who spoke to CITE said the municipality can run its own mining activities to augment its revenue streams.
Gwanda Residents Association (GRA) secretary general, Bekezela Fuzwayo Maduma urged the municipality to venture into gold mining.
“There is no way we can talk about Gwanda without mention its gold. First and foremost, the municipality has to own a gold mine so that it can control this natural resource,” he said.
Community Youth Development Trust Director, Sichasisiwe Ndlovu said the natural resources found in the area were not benefitting the community.
“Gwanda is a hub of mining activities which hardly benefit the community due to the exploitation of gold proceeds and also corruption that comes with the industry”
Gwanda mayor Councillor Jastone Mazhale said it was difficult for the council to venture into mining.
“This a bit ironic in the sense that our vision says we are a gold-rich town but we are sitting on that kind of gold and at the same time doing nothing to exploit it for the benefit and development of the town.
“There are certain procedures that we have to follow but as a municipality, we cannot run a mining company. In law we are not allowed instead we can have a partnership with mining companies,” explained the Mayor.
He added that even the gold mines around the town have not fully exploited the gold in the area.
“What we are doing as the municipality is to invite these gold mines to come and invest in Gwanda. For instance, providing them with land at a subsidised price so that they can build residential stands for their workers, middle managers, so that they can in-turn contribute in road rehabilitation and other service delivery programmes,” said Mayor Mazhale.
The mayor said they are still in talks with the ministry of lands on venturing into farming. In the past, the municipality used to own Jazi farm.
“The land commission is currently handling the case involving Jazi farm. We had a verbal agreement with the ministry of lands. Therefore, we cannot discuss something that is being dealt with at the ministerial level,” he said.