Social services delivery has collapsed

Social services delivery in Zimbabwe has inevitably collapsed for many reasons the major one being a collapsing economy and the resultant decline in incomes. Zimbabweans have generally become unhealthy as social conditions have deteriorated while poverty has become wide spread and common. The collapse of social service delivery from local authorities demonstrates the total failure by the ZANU (PF) and MDC-T led councils to lead and deliver on people’s issues.

Water-Problems-250As PDP our views are that Zimbabwe’s social disaster is not inevitable but is a man-made disaster which can therefore be reversed through better leadership, good management and informed and effective policy interventions at local government level.

As PDP our economic blue print HOPE, identifies social services delivery as a key measure of any government’s competency and commitment in satisfying its constitutional obligations and the rights of access to basic services for all citizens.

Since the collapse of the agriculture sector, which remains a key catalyst to economic growth in Zimbabwe, we have seen an urban population explosion which has put tremendous pressure on urban infrastructure and social services delivery while rural sector development has been non-existent. As a result, the majority of Zimbabweans are now living under atrocious social conditions which have been exacerbated by lack of jobs and incomes.

PDP policies will seek to reverse this by first reviving the economy to create jobs and sustainable incomes. This will in turn provide the necessary financial resources for community and social development at local government level.

Our first priority will be to ensure that all our laws at local government level including any by-laws are aligned with the new constitution and must enable and not stifle local development and social services delivery. Key to this, will be the devolution of power to our provincial councils, city councils and rural district councils.

As PDP we will therefore deliberately empower local government by ensuring the provision of adequate resources, effective management, planning and project implementation capacity and the participation by our communities in their own development. We will therefore support strong and effective community based organisations as a channel for social development and basic services delivery.

Added to this will be the importance of the competencies of those charged with the management of our provincial, urban and rural councils. Many a time our councils have failed to manage resources for development because of rampant corruption, patronage and abuse of resources. PDP intends to root out corruption through transparency and accountability, but more important, we must ensure that those who are charged with the management of all our councils are competent and have the required skills to deliver. This will be largely determined by the quality of our councillors and managers and how they are selected and appointed to positions in the first place.

Also important is the economic empowerment of our communities. We intend to use municipalities as community empowerment and development platforms in the delivery of affordable health services, especially primary care, education and public libraries, internet access, sports facilities, affordable housing, a clean environment, waste management and recycling, renewable energy, roads network maintenance and clean water delivery. In achieving this, we will recognise the bill of rights and ensure that our citizens’ rights are not compromised.

A key factor of social services delivery will be the creation of jobs within our local environments and the promotion of youth and women empowerment. The rehabilitation and regular maintenance of social services infrastructure must result in job opportunities for our local communities and will not be out-sourced. This will require community organising skills and training and development of our people at local level.

PDP will also establish urban and rural district development funds to provide adequate resources for local development and empowerment. These funds must be managed in partnership with local community development organisations and community representatives who will be responsible for determining how and on what areas the funds must be utilised. We intend to promote inclusive community development structures which will ensure that local government is accountable to local communities. We will also promote self-driven community projects which must be inclusive and non-partisan.

We will also support organised grass roots commerce and dignify what is currently called the informal sector. PDP recognises the entrepreneurial spirit within our communities and any government that claims to protect the interests of the people must be seen to support as opposed to stifle the emergence of local grass roots commerce. Our local government by-laws must respect the constitution and encourage grass roots commerce. Adequate public facilities will therefore be established for vendors while ensuring that they do their business in a clean environment.

As PDP we will focus on the revitalization of social service delivery and social support will ensure the reversal of collapsing service delivery both in urban and rural areas.  We will also implement of provincial councils as per the new constitution, alignment of traditional leadership laws to the new constitution, immediate implementation of devolution as well as providing social support to all vulnerable groups within our communities.

Our main thrust will always be to put our people at the centre of development so that we can create healthy, informed and economically empowered communities who take an active role in creating the circumstances they wish to live in regardless of where they may reside within the country.

Another Zimbabwe is possible!

Vince Musewe

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