SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN MAHLABAZIHLANGENE
By Fortune Dlamini
Communities have to be educated and receive training on how to use the resources they have to sustain themselves. Most communities are affected by the top-down theory, where by they are given resources and become unable to make use of the resources that they have been given. This has resulted in communities not being able to sustain development that would have been brought about by donor funding.
It is therefore important that while donors give communities some resources, the community should be active involved in the development process so that they have ownership of the projects.
Some communities have since realized the need to sustain development. A visit to some parts of rural Plumtree, namely Mahlabazihlangene, Valukhalo and Phakamani revealed this.
Habakkuk Trust under its Local Level Capacity Building Programme carried out extensive consultations with stakeholders in Mahlabazihlangene. These consultations were followed by a capacity building for development training programme.
The Habakkuk team visited the above areas in an effort to make sure that the 2008 ward plan is implemented. The ward plan proposes various projects which would improve the livehood of the community.
Mahlabazihlangene is home to multi purpose centre which could be used by the community as a sustenance tool. The multi purpose centre is home to a bakery and equipment which includes generators. Most of these structures have been deliberately neglected due to an unclear sense of ownership. A majority of them have been vandalized, windows broken and some equipment and property gone missing with no one to account for it.
The Habakkuk Trust Mahlabazihlangene Action Teams are major development catalysts and feel that development should not be stopped by the leadership vacuum which is in the country. This has been brought about by councillors not being sworn in. Development is set to continue as the community concurred that development was something that should begin at grassroots level, with the assistance of traditional leaders. The greatest challenge that has been faced by these communities is the vague current political situation that has forced some of the projects to be stopped. There is currently a vacuum in the leadership structures as councillors for some areas have not been sworn in.
However, the communities have not been deterred by the situation as they have resolved to continue with their work, through the engaging of traditional leaders in the area. These include the chiefs, headmen, village heads, church pastors and the local police. Mrs Mbengwa added that development was an ongoing process, hence it was important that the projects continue while councillors are being sworn in. She said it would be worthwhile if the councillors find the ground work already done by the community.
Mrs Eveline Ndebele said it was important that people should be able to sustain their livelihoods by making use of the resources they already possess. She said it was important to pave the way forward and make the bakery a reality.
Mr Dumisani Nkomo, the Habakkuk Chief Executive Officer reiterated that it was essential that the communities pave the way forward on the use of multi-purpose centers, through the training of vocational skills. Their main focus is to ensure that development and self-sustenance continues in the community and that it involves everyone.
The role of Habakkuk Trust in development issues is to educate and train communities on
strategies they could use to make use of their resources and be able to sustain themselves from
the resources they have.
The communities grasped the Habakkuk Trust training programmes and have been enlightened enough to take up their position and be in the fore-front. It is essential for the communities to realize that development begins at grassroot level, since the people are the ones who know their needs and wants.