Stakeholders attending Tongogara RDC’s strategic planning review meeting
On 23 and 24 November 2017, Tongogara Rural District Council (TRDC) held a multi-stakeholder workshop to review its 5-year strategic plan (2015-2019) at Fair Mile hotel in Gweru. The objectives of the review process were to take social stock of progress- achievements and challenges, to adapt strategies in response to the ever-changing environment and to mainstream the Sustainable Development Goals in council programmes. In line with its thrust to ensure that mineral resources are managed to deliver quality local essential services, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) provided both technical and financial resources for reviewing TRDC’s strategic plan. Stakeholders (42 people) who participated during the review of the strategic plan included government ministries, Tongogara Community Share Ownership Trust, Civil Society Organisations, councillors, community representatives and TRDC secretariat.
Find below stakeholder voices;
“Tongogara is a mineral resource rich district. We are blessed with significant platinum, gold and chrome deposits. The potential to deliver quality local social services is there if mining companies pay their fair share of taxes to finance local development activities” B Dube, Executive Officer (EO), social service delivery, TRDC .
“This strategic review planning meeting has been an eye opener. I had no idea that the projects being implemented by Tongogara RDC are a result of a long-term plan. Now that we are aware that there are deliverables and targets to be met, it is easier monitor and hold accountable Tongogara RDC” Traditional Chief Nhema
“Women’s needs are being prioritised in local delivery of social services. In 2014, we appealed for maternity wards. A sizeable number of women were giving birth at home. Progress has been recorded, several maternity wards were constructed” Elen Zinyuke, women representative
“It is sad that mining companies are not participating at this strategic planning review meeting. The corporate social investments they undertake should complement what Tongogara RDC is doing. Local stakeholders participate in Anglo-American owned Unki Mine’s local stakeholder engagement platform, yet Unki mine does not participate in council driven stakeholder consultations” local stakeholder
“The strategic planning review meeting was an opportunity to mainstream 10 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as prioritised by central government, in Tongogara RDC’s development programmes” Felix Mukosera, local government expert
“Tongogara RDC’s social safety nets are now prioritising the girl child. The bursary scheme and planned campaign to end child marriages will help to promote the realisation of the girl child’s rights.” Social service delivery expert
“I am happy that Tongogara TRDC is consulting disabled people during formulation and implementation of the council’s development plans. The challenge is that we are not seeing progress in some areas like income generation projects” Tawanda Muchokoto of Shurugwi Association of People with Disability
“We need government to approve our bylaws on environment and natural resource management to better manage most of the environmental challenges we are facing in Tongogara RDC” Mubaiwa, Executive Officer, environment management, Tongogara RDC. ZELA supported TRDC with public consultations and drafting of the bylaws on environment and natural resources.
“Whilst several local governments have a challenge on timeous production of audited financial statements, I am happy to tell you that Tongogara RDC’s audited financial statements are up-to-date” Treasurer, Tongogara RDC.
“We welcome Tongogara RDC’s programme of auditing council owned schools to promote better handling of local public resources in line with Finance and Administration of Schools Circular 6 of 1994. However, council auditors should work closely with Ministry of Education’s auditors to avoid duplication and to promote better enforcement the recommendations.”
“Synergies between Tongogara Community Share Ownership’s developed plans and Tongogara RDC’s development agenda are critical enablers of improved local service delivery” Mukasiri Sibanda, Economic Governance Officer with Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association.
To conclude, it must be noted that Section 13 (2) of Constitution provides for community participation in the formulation and implementation of development plans that affect them. ZELA will work with Tongogara RDC to ensure that communities are aware of and are able to understand council’s development targets. Such a process will enable better community participation during local budget public consultations, ensuring that resources are effectively allocated to achieve set targets as per the development plan. Prior to the review, Tongogara RDC had carried out a stakeholder needs assessment to ensure that the review of the development plan is aligned with community priorities.