MP battles poverty, unemployment

Established in the early 90s, Nkulumane constituency covers about 17 sprawling high density suburbs and has about 45,000 registered voters. One of the biggest challenges the local MP, Thamsanqa Mahlangu, is the shortage of public facilities such as schools, clinics, libraries, and unemployment.

Nkulumane MP Thamsanqa Mahlangu
Nkulumane MP Thamsanqa Mahlangu

He was elected on an MDC–T ticket in 2008 after beating the late Gibson Sibanda.

“Public institutions are failing to cope with the increasing population. Most of my long term projects are aimed at supporting schools and clinics. Some residents walk more than 10 km to the nearest school or clinic,” said Mahlangu in a recent interview with The Zimbabwean.

Using the bulk of his Constituency Development Fund, he spearheaded construction of Mncumbatha secondary school, which is expected to take its first enrolment next month. Last Month, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangira toured the school and commended Mahlangu for putting the fund to good use.

Mandwandwe secondary school and Maqhawe clinic have also benefitted from the fund through the donation of school furniture and generators. Before the donation, students at were taking turns to use the few desks and chairs.

“We really commend the MP and his team, which includes the senator and the local councillor for prioritising schools in the constituency. Some of our children were sitting on the ground because of the shortage of furniture,” said Nokuthula Gwatinyanya, a resident.

Gwatinyanya urged the MP to also assist women in coming up with income generating projects, and to engage Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority officials on the incessant power cuts.

“Women are the most affected by the shortage of electricity.They spend most of the time scrounging for firewood in the bush. The electricity bills are too high and we cannot afford them,” she said.

In a bid to cushion residents from high funeral costs, the MP has launched the Umngane Qmkhuli funeral policy – currently subscribed by over 5 000 members.

“I come up with programme after realising that death is now like a veld fire. I have negotiated low premier rates with a local funeral parlour. In deserving cases I used personal resources to assist with funeral costs,” said Mahlangu.

According to the MP, there are about 5000 child-headed families in the constituency whose parents have succumbed to HIV /Aids or have migrated to South Africa.

“A lot of children do not have birth certificates. Some have failed to proceed with their education as a result. I urge the government to consider waving some of the requirements for obtaining national documents,” he added.

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