Monday, September 21, 2009


The upgrading and construction of schools remains a priority for the Gwanda Rural District Council (RDC).
This was revealed during a Gwanda RDC Social Services Committee meeting that was held in Gwanda on Friday 18 September 2009. Habakkuk Trust’s Local Governance Officer, Miss N Moyo and the Programme Coordinator, Miss B Gumbo attended the meeting in which they also gave a briefing on the work that Habakkuk Trust is doing in Matabeleland South. Habakkuk Trust has in the past worked in Mat South as Secretariat of the Give a Dam Campaign and in July this year unrolled the Local Level Advocacy Programme in Gwanda’s ward two. Through this programme the communities have identified the issue of schools as a major concern and working together with Habakkuk Trust are engaged in advocacy around this issue.

Of particular note is the case of Wilikisa Primary School which the Zhukwe East and West communities identified during the Advocacy Training stage and affirmed as an issue of concern in the public meeting that ensued. The Councillors said the construction of the schools should be a priority and the schools should be registered with the Ministry of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture.
It is indeed a positive development that Gwanda RDC has made it a priority, as it makes it easy for the Zhukwe community to advocate on the issue.

To ensure that the advocacy process is an informed one, Habakkuk Trust, through its Local Governance desk keeps abreast with council activities and ensures that information trickles down to the communities through its action teams.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


By Khumbulani Maphosa (Assistant Information Officer)

The Bulawayo City Council has granted permission to a private electronics company to install a solar powered traffic control light in the Central Business District.
According to the latest Council minutes, the company, BMG Traffic Control Systems (Pvt) Ltd wrote a letter to the council requesting to install a demo traffic light. The demo traffic light was tested in Harare and the idea was positively received.

This new development may help to alleviate the high levels of traffic chaos at intersections which is usually as a result of mal-functioning traffic lights caused by ZESA electric power outages and load-shedding. The Council decision also comes after the Habakkuk Trust recommended to the council and other stakeholders in September 2008 at the Energy Indaba that there is need to venture in other sources of energy to address challenges faced as a result of electricity shortages.


By Khumbulani Maphosa (Assistant Information Officer)

The Bulawayo City Council has already approached the Central Government with a request to establish a Municipal Court that will assist the Council to track down defaulters on rent and rates payment.
The Council is currently being owed huge sums of money by government institutions, private companies and individual households who have been failing to own up their debts thus robbing the authority of revenue which could be channeled to service delivery and retaining staff.
The Council minutes stated that the government owes the local authority about US$593 000 as of March 2009. Kelvin North Factory shells owe the council about US$40 153. 55 while the non-payment of shop owners licenses have left the council US$9 500 poorer and mobile phone shop operators are owing US$22 025. 59. Other ratepayers and consumers reportedly owe council about US$14 million.

The Council has thus made the above-mentioned resolution after realizing that most of these cases have been reported to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (the national authority with prosecution powers) but with little or no results at all. If the Council can therefore be given the right to have a municipal court it will help it to arrest and prosecute defaulters thus speed up the recovery of huge sums of money that it is owed.

However, according to the Council minutes the issue is yet to be finalized.

The above development comes as a positive one as this Court would make it easier for the Council authorities to deal with defaulting ratepayers. This issue was also raised during a Habakkuk Trust Policy Dialogue meeting that was held between Mzilikazi Residents and the Bulawayo City Council. The idea of a Municipal Court was also viewed as a way of generating income for the Council, as certain minor offences would be dealt with by the City Council.

Friday, September 4, 2009


By Khumbulani Maphosa (Assistant Information Officer)

The more than four years old Thornville dispute between commercial and communal farmers over the management of water is on the path to being resolved thanks to the mediation efforts of Habakkuk Trust and Watermark Consultancy.

The conflict resolution meeting was held on the 2nd of September 2009 at the Habakkuk Trust boardroom and was chaired by the Habakkuk Trust Programmes Co-ordinator, Miss Belinda Gumbo, who has received intensive training in conflict resolution and mediation issues in Zambia and the United States of America.

The meeting resolved that the dam water management that was initially given to Happy Valley Farm by Shashe Catchment Area sometime in 2007 be taken over by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) and all those who would like to use the water to do it via ZINWA. It was also agreed that communal farmers should be more organized in their operations, should craft strict governance and management regulations so as to curb rampant poaching and water wasting behaviors. The communal farmers were also encouraged to think commercially and regard their farming activities as viable businesses.
The meeting also resolved that security measures to minimize water wastage and crop destruction should be enforced.
ZINWA was tasked with conducting site visits and the drafting of the water use agreement forms that will be signed by all the farmers. It was also mandated with coming up with a mechanism of ensuring that Happy Valley farm, which has already paid for use of all the water in the dam be compensated.

A follow up meeting for ironing out some remaining issues was scheduled for the 30th of September at the Habakkuk Trust boardroom. The remaining issues include ZINWA reporting on progress and for the communal farmers to report their progress in terms of rules and laws that will govern them. It is hoped that this meeting will bring a lasting solution to the long standing scuffle.

The meeting was attended by representatives of communal farmers, several commercial tenant farmers, a representative of ZINWA, Watermark Consultancy, Pro-Africa and Habakkuk Trust staff.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


By Fortune Moyo (Media and Publications Officer)

The Empandeni and Embakwe communities have taken their advocacy issue – access to clean water further. A feasibility study has been carried by a water consultant so as to find out specific borehole and well sites that could be resuscitated for the use of the community.

Habakkuk Trust has been working with the communities of Empandeni (ward 1) and Embakwe (ward 13) in Mangwe District as part of the Local Level Capacity Building Programme.

A detailed report of all the water points has been compiled and the findings are that a total number of 68 water points have been visited and assessed. These water points comprise of 36 wells and 32 boreholes. Of the 36 wells, 28 have (at least some) water, while 8 are dry. Four wells have working hand pumps, while 23 hand pumps are out of order. One well with water had no hand pump. The percentage of wells with working hand pumps is 14%.

There are 25 boreholes with water and 12 pumps working, which represent 48% (boreholes-with-working pumps). Of the 7 boreholes that are recorded as dry, 4 have been vandalized and could have yielded water before they were vandalized. In other words there could have been 29 functional boreholes and 41% functional hand pumps.

Some of the hand pumps that are out of order seem to have only minor problems yet there is no evidence that efforts have been made to carry out the necessary repairs or to identify the parts needed. On the other hand there is substantial evidence of what seems to be vandalism (cover slabs thrown into wells; stones thrown into boreholes), while in some instances there are signs of lack of repairing skills (pipes dropped, rods disconnected).

The report stated that it would be helpful to identify and interview the pump minders. But there are also signs that the water point committees might not be active. It is strongly recommended to further probe and investigate why so many hand pumps are out of order and why so many fences and aprons are not well maintained.

It should be noted that the deep wells have been equipped with hand pumps that have 12mm pump rods and 1.5 inch pipes. The District Development Fund (DDF) does not stock these sizes, as the boreholes are usually fitted with 16mm rods and 2 inch pipes. It might therefore be a good idea to modify the deep well hand pumps to take 16mm rods.
Before efforts are made to raise funds for the rehabilitation of the water points that are not operational, an assessment should be made of the capacity of the DDF (Water Section), as well as the ability of the pump minders to carry out the necessary repairs and associated works.

It is Habakkuk Trust’s goal that after the communities have been equipped with the assessment report, the organisation then assists them in taking their issues further to the relevant stakeholders, who can assist them with resuscitating the various water points.