Youths in Matabeleland have called on the government to devolve power to enable locals to benefit from resources and employment opportunities in their province.
Speaking at a Youth Indaba held in Bulawayo, Tuesday, young people from all over Matabeleland lamented how they have been disenfranchised due to the influx of people from other parts of the country to take up employment at their expense.
“We have had situations where people are bussed into Matabeleland from other provinces to take up job opportunities in our province. An example is an issue that occurred at Rainbow hotel where people were allegedly brought in from Mashonaland for renovations. Right now, we are failing challenges where teachers at schools in our region do not how to speak Ndebele thereby compromising the learning process for the minors,” said Samuel Mpofu from Pumula in Bulawayo.
“The government needs to address these issues. We need people who have a vast knowledge of the language and culture so as to preserve it.
“We have cases where personnel employed at registry offices do not know our languages. We end up having our names misspelt on our particulars. We need people from this region taking up offices in such areas”.
Nomsa Dube from Gwanda said companies that exploit resources in their communities should contribute the community share ownership trust to allow the area to benefit from its resources.
“Right now, there was the directive of EPOs where 95% is given to the operators leaving locals to scramble for a meagre 5%. If they want to mine, they can do so but at least remit substantive amounts for locals to survive on,” she said.
“There also is a need to decentralise the registrar offices as travelling to Harare to process documentation is costly and inconvenient.
“It is not only the issue with personal documents, but we also have to travel to Harare to get liquor licences and process other business documents. This is a huge inconvenience. The cost of transport and accommodation are never taken into consideration”.
Dube said devolution “would also enable us to hold authorities accountable when they fail us in service delivery”.
Nancy Dube from Plumtree said local people are side-lined when it comes to economic opportunities within their communities.
“In our area, we have machine operators but when there are opportunities to get tenders, they are granted to people that we do not know.
“Even with Amacimbi, we have to compete with people from other regions, if Matabeleland would be allowed to at least get these then sell them to other regions for a profit that will benefit the area.
“Plumtree and Beitbridge are border towns but they are in a sorry state. At least through devolution, we would be able to channel part of the money to develop our areas,” she said.