BULAWAYO residents have urged government to allocate a significant amount of its 2019 budget towards infrastructural development such as building new schools in Matabeleland region.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
A number of schools in Matabeleland have poor infrastructure and many qualified teachers do not want to work there.
Due to lack of resources and shortage of qualified teachers, the pass rate for most of the schools is always below 10%.
Contributing during the 2019 national budget consultations in Bulawayo on Tuesday, participants said due to shortages of schools in the region, children had lost interest in education.
“We request that government funds infrastructure development, especially roads and schools. In Tsholotsho, we have a serious challenge. If we look at the schools, this is the reason why our children prefer to go to South Africa,” Orphans Friend and Community Development Trust official, Siqinisweyinkosi Mhlanga, said.
For instance, Mhlanga said, in ward 1, there was only one secondary school and seven primary schools.
“The secondary school covers a radius of more than 55km. So you can see that there is a problem there. We also have a high rate of child marriages in Tsholotsho because of the fact that we do not have enough secondary schools.
“So we are asking the government to improvise,” she said.
Bulawayo Vendors and Traders’ Association executive director, Michael Ndiweni, requested government to build at least a polytechnic institution in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North.
“In Matabeleland, where I come from, in Tsholotsho, there is no polytechnic. We only have Lupane State University. We have no college that can even train teachers.
“We request that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development put a budget for that,” he said.
Ndiweni also requested that government puts in place a significant budget towards operationalisation of the devolution of power.
“We want to see that happening because that is the only way we will address poverty issues when people begin to have a say about their resources,” he said.
Phakamani Moyo, from Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development, said government should prioritise health services by implementing the 2001 Abuja Declaration, which requires that member states allocate 15% of the total national budget to health.
Bulawayo resident Munyaradzi Phiri said government should scrap bond notes and craft its budget based on United States dollars or the South African rand. Other participants demanded that government deals with corruption and, as such, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission should be fully funded to carry its mandate. Others urged government to establish more mental institutions in Bulawayo to cater for vulnerable women and girls.