Women in Umzingwane District’s wards 1, 9 and 16 have for a long time fallen victim to poor social services due to increased illicit financial flows within the district. This has resulted in inadequate boreholes and clinics as women have to walk a distance of at least eight kilometres to the nearest borehole and 15 kilometres to the nearest clinic to access healthcare services.
Since 2012, WILD has helped facilitate dialogue to promote proper use of public funds to fund public services and improved revenue collection for gender responsive service delivery.
Pretty Moyo is one of the women who are advocating for the protection of heritage sites in Ward 9. She and seven other women from across Umzingwane District have received district administrator’s buy-in to the protection of heritage sites to promote revenue collection that will fund gender responsive service delivery.
Pretty Moyo says for many years, tourists have been flocking to visit Mashashasha Falls (a miniature of the great Victoria falls), and four caves namely Gudali in Gabheni Village, Sotshe, Shuwa and Buhu in Matopo village, marveling at stone age rock paintings and stone age granaries which still have fresh harvests.
Pretty Moyo recalls that some years ago, there was a cultural village in the confines of one of the homesteads. The cultural village was an attraction to tourists and schools who were expected to pay stipulated amounts upon visiting. The funds accumulated would then be used to refurbish the road network and other social services.
Today, the cultural village is dilapidated, walls have fallen, termites have ravaged the thatch, and now the building is a white elephant.
She said “Umzingwane District is losing out on a lot of revenue that could be generated from declaring heritage sites as tourist destinations. The money raised from tourists’ visits will go a long way in helping the community. In addition, sand poachers are not contributing to the district’s fiscus because they do not pay the district. If they continue to leave puddles and erode the area, in the coming years we will suffer the consequences. With the help of WILD we have managed to meet the District Administrator through Tax Justice meetings and our hopes are that visitors’ payments will help fund and improve public services,” she said.
She said she was elated at the District Administrator’s interest in helping the community revitalize the cultural village.
“Together with the Village Development Committee, we will revive the cultural village by first reviving the cultural committee. We have also set our eyes on developing Community Complaint Mechanisms to report illicit financial flows. All this will be taken up to the Rural District Council,” she said.
In support of the initiative, the District Administrator Siphathisiwe Mlotshwa said council should develop a strategy to generate revenue from heritage sites and sand.
At least 382 households will benefit from the proceeds accumulated from heritage sites.
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