Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent
A TOTAL of 1 280 people in Matabeleland South Province are expected to benefit from the Public Works Programme which started recently under the Drought Relief Mitigation programme.
In an interview during a tour of some of the projects under the programme in Ward 20 in Gwanda recently, Matabeleland South Provincial DDF co-ordinator, Mr Moment Malandu, said under the DDF component, the beneficiaries would each be paid $160 and also receive a bag of maize.
“Under the DDF component of the programme, 1 280 people from the province will be hired and each will receive $160 and a 50kg bag of maize from social welfare. Our project will include 2 471km road works, construction of a classroom block at Ngoma Primary School and hand pump head works. We are yet to identify other wards in the province where we will construct infrastructure.
There are some actors as well who will come with various projects such as NGOs, Ministry of Transport and local authorities among other stakeholders,” he said.
“We started the public works programme in Matabeleland South Province beginning of September after the President had declared the drought situation a national disaster. The objective of the programme is to create resilience, coping strategies and development of community assets that will assist the communities in case drought strikes again”. Mr Malandu said road maintenance works that would be done include verge clearing, culvert cleaning and painting and gravel patching.
Addressing community members from Ward 20, Mr Malandu urged community members to take advantage of the programme which had been presented by Government for them to fend for their families and develop their communities.
He urged villagers to be united. DDF in partnership with community members from Ward 20 drilled three boreholes in the area, one for the community and two for Dendele Irrigation Scheme under the public works programme.
They are also in the process of constructing an ECD block at Ngoma Primary School. “The public works programme is under the drought relief programme and its meant to address drought issues in your community and bring development. Those who will benefit under the programme are expected to work for 15 days and will receive $160 and a bag of maize.
“In your ward we decided to drill boreholes in order to address water challenges you are facing of which one will be solar powered and to build an ECD block at Ngoma Primary as the ECD pupils don’t have learning space. Government has put in place these projects so they can benefit our communities therefore let’s all co-operate and take part,” Mr Malandu said.
Speaking at the same gathering, Matabeleland South provincial social welfare officer, Mr Criswell Nyakudya, explained the drought relief programme. He highlighted the criteria for selecting beneficiaries that would be given grain for free and those who were supposed to benefit under the public works programme.
In an interview, Ngoma B village head, Mr Dumisani Dube, said the boreholes that had been drilled under the public works programme were going to go a long way in addressing water challenges in the area. He said villagers have been relying on Dendele Dam for water for domestic use, livestock and watering crops at the irrigation scheme but they were now stranded as it had dried up.
“Now that we have these boreholes this has helped ease water challenges for us. The dam dried up in July and we were now struggling to get water. The crops that we had planted at the irrigation withered because of a shortage of water. We appeal to DDF to drill more boreholes that can cover the entire village,” Mr Dube said. – @DubeMatutu