MATABELELAND NORTH Provincial Affairs minister Cain Mathema has engaged a local construction company to build durable houses for Tsholotsho villagers to reduce damages caused by floods.
Mathema revealed this during the handover of 400 blankets from Edgars for Tsholotsho flood victims at the Mhlahlandlela government complex yesterday.
The donation followed extensive media coverage on the plight of Tsholotsho villagers by Southern Eye and advocacy by Umhlahlo weSizwe sikaMthwakazi.
Mathema said Tsholotsho was generally a low-lying area and therefore vulnerable to floods, but the villagers were not keen on moving from flood affected areas leaving behind the graves of their ancestors.
“The villagers prefer not to be moved from their traditional areas because their ancestors are there,” he said.
“Rains have destroyed houses and even prevented children from going to school.
“They (villagers) have to be assisted with building materials. We cannot continue with the traditional housing structure, but build stronger houses.
“I have been talking to Hawkflight to assist villagers build stronger houses with bricks on a mortgage facility.”
Mathema said besides Tsholotsho that had 200 families affected by floods, other areas which were affected by flooding in the province included Binga, Nkayi and Umguza.
“In Nkayi and Umguza, small bridges over rivers were washed away,” Mathema said.
Meanwhile, Mathema said Hellenics Primary and secondary schools had also made donations to flood victims after efforts from the wives of Defence minister Sydney Sekeramai and his Environment, Water and Climate counterpart Saviour Kasukuwere.
“We will be also receiving other donations at the Landa John Nkomo School in Tsholotsho on Friday from businessman Rajesh Modi,” he said.
Mathema paid tribute to Edgars for the donation.
“We are thankful to Edgars for this gesture they showed to the community,” he said.
Mathema said he had an open door policy and anyone wishing to assist villagers in any form was welcome. Edgars group corporate social responsibility manager Stephen Guwa paid tribute to the media, particularly Southern Eye, for exposing the plight of Tsholotsho flood victims.
“It is not like companies do not want to assist, but we need to get information on people in need of assistance,” he said.
“Edgars is there because of the people. As Zimbabweans, we should be seen developing our own communities.
“We do not make a lot of money, but we are willing to assist where we can.”
Edgars had earlier on donated 40 refuse bins to Mpilo Central Hospital to promote a healthy environment for patients.
Bulawayo United Residents’ Association (Bura) chairperson Winos Dube said the city’s residents had shown an interest in reviving Mpilo.
Dube said the revival of the largest referral hospital in the southern region of the country was in the best interest of Bulawayo residents.
Umhlahlo weSizwe sikaMthwakazi secretary for welfare Mvikeli Mathema said his organisation had sought donations for flood victims from members of the Bulawayo community. He said donations had been made in Magwegwe, Pumula South, Pelandaba and Nkulumane, among other areas.