UMGUZA villagers in Matabeleland North have called for the relocation of the Umguza Rural District Council (URDC) offices from Bulawayo saying they cannot continue travelling to the city for services.
The villagers said it did not make sense for them to always travel to Bulawayo and called on the URDC to relocate to Nyamandlovu where there is a growth point.
Brazil Siziba, who visited Southern Eye offices with a group of villagers yesterday said it was expensive for them to travel to Bulawayo for assistance and most of them could not afford to travel outside the district.
“It is high time the URDC relocated to within the district and possibly in Nyamandlovu.
It is our council and it must be where we stay,” he said.
“There are so many issues we want addressed, but because we have to travel to Bulawayo for them to be attended to, they remain unattended because we do not have the money to keep travelling to the city.”
Another villager Silibaziso Nkomo said they felt as if they did not have a local authority at all because it operated from another province.
“As far as we are concerned, we do not have a district council because we don’t have it where we stay. Why do they have to keep operating from Bulawayo?
“How then does the URDC fulfil its mandate to serve the people of Umguza district when it’s not a part of the community? Most of the URDC officials actually stay in Bulawayo and some of them have never even been to the district,” Nkomo said.
Mthembeni Nyathi said the government must direct the URDC to operate from its own territory and stop enjoying the benefits of the Bulawayo City Council while villagers suffered in Umguza.
“We want a district council that is willing to be part of our community as it is clear to us that the current council is enjoying the benefits of Bulawayoj,” he charged.
Umguza MP and Transport minister Obert Mpofu also weighed in saying he supported the villagers’ call for the URDC to relocate to the district.
“I understand the plight of the villagers and I also agree with them because there is no reason why the URDC must be located in Bulawayo instead of being in the district itself,” he said.
“The URDC can be relocated to Nyamandlovu where there is a growth point. The council would be central and easily accessible to the villagers instead of them having the trouble of going all the way to Bulawayo,” he said.
Mpofu said it was time the relevant ministry worked on ensuring that the URDC was moved to Nyamandlovu for the convenience of villagers and development of the district.
However, Umguza assistant district administrator Gloria Round said the URDC could not just relocate because it also serviced other areas like Ntabazinduna and Mbembesi which would be severely disadvantaged by a relocation of the offices to Nyamandlovu.
“The URDC located in Bulawayo is the head office,” she said.
“In almost every rural area within the Umguza district, there is a sub-office where villagers can seek help if the need arises.
“There is a sub-office in Ntabazinduna, another in Nyamandlovu, one in Insuza and one in Mbembesi.
“Villagers must make use of the sub-offices in the district because they are readily available and they are there to cater for the needs of the villagers.”