Gwanda mayor Lionel DeNecker has urged government to introduce a policy compelling private companies and government institutions to reserve 75% of their employment quota for locals in each province.
DeNecker told NewsDay yesterday the majority of employees at private companies and government institutions in Gwanda were drawn from outside Matabeleland South province.
“Most of the workers we have here come from faraway provinces,” said DeNecker. “This is not healthy for our town’s development.
A lot of money is generated here, but workers who do not belong to this region get paid and take the money away to develop their areas leaving this place underdeveloped,” said DeNecker.
He cited examples of menial jobs at Beitbridge Border Post which he claimed had been taken over by people from outside the province, adding this had forced most youths from the region to migrate to neighbouring South Africa in search of employment.
“We do not want companies to exploit our resources and take away all the money without the locals benefiting.
Employing locals is the only way to make them benefit from companies operating in the area. The government benefits a lot through the Beitbridge and Plumtree border posts,” said DeNecker.
“But it is sad that the province is lagging behind in development. Government must make sure that the province benefits from revenue collected from it.”
DeNecker said in the next National Budget, Finance minister Tendai Biti should ensure the majority of people employed in government projects in any province were locals.
He said the policy should then cascade to private companies.
The mayor also urged Biti to release adequate funds for completion of stalled government projects in Gwanda, the Matabeleland South provincial capital.
These include the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic and Gwanda Prison.