The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Chombo Hails Rural District Councils, Mining Firms' Partnerships

PARTNERSHIPS between Rural District Councils (RDCs) and mining companies are vital for rural development, a Cabinet Minister has said. Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo said such partnerships are important for the country to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and improve service delivery by local authorities.

Minister Chombo made the remarks while officially handing over 32 boreholes worth more than US$130 000 drilled by Zimplats for the Mhondoro-Ngezi RDC.

Minister Chombo also unveiled road maintenance equipment for Mhondoro-Ngezi RDC at the same event at Mamina Growth Point.

"The primary role of local authorities is to provide basic municipal and social services to local citizenry," he said.

"Key services such as providing portable water and roads are important for the needy communities.

"Most RDCs have embarked on a robust re-capitalisation drive that includes procurement of motorised graders, tractors and lorries among other vital equipment necessary for rural development."

Minister Chombo said local authorities were burdened throughout the country.

"Partnerships with mining companies that extract wealth from different areas must yield tangible results such as providing rural areas with portable water and good roads since it increases the rate of rural development," he said.

Minister Chombo said Zimplats' gesture complemented the Government's US$50 million Water and Sanitation programme that was launched in Tsholotsho recently.

"The inventory had estimated that 75 percent of hand pumps in the country are not functioning, which was exacerbated by debilitating economic challenges that befell the country," Minister Chombo said.

He commended Mhondoro-Ngezi RDC for purchasing equipment including motorised graders, tractors, dumper trucks, an ambulance and pick up trucks after splitting from Kadoma RDC.

Mashonaland West Governor Cde Faber Chidarikire said the equipment purchased by the council are a testimony of the hardworking leadership in the province's local authorities.

Mhondoro-Ngezi legislator Cde Bright Matonga said improvement of local authorities pave way for localisation of sanitary and basic services villagers access after travelling for long distances.

"Having a council office in the proximity is localisation of Government's activities," he said.

"This will work hand in hand with the rural electrification programme which will improve rural clinics to poly-clinic levels."

Zimplats chief operating officer Mr Stanley Segula said Zimplats will continue ploughing back into the community to improve existing relations and livelihood of the rural people.

"Access to clean water for the local community which previously travelled longer distances is the ultimate aim," he said.

"Zimplats will continue providing materials to District Development Fund (DDF) that has technical support."

Mr Segula said by the end of the year, six more boreholes will be drilled in the Chegutu area.

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