Rural District Councils Act and the Traditional Leaders Act give rural communities a system that encourages citizen participation in local development planning processes. Despite these legislative frameworks clearly stating that each community must have a village plan to be incorporated into a ward plan, nothing is being done on the ground. Out of the five wards in Insiza, Nkayi and Bubi districts where Habakkuk Trust recently did Local Level Advocacy Programme (LLAP) training meetings, only one ward (Bubi District ward one) has a ward plan.
At an Action Team meeting in Nkayi ward 26 recently, villagers said some of the reasons why their community had never done any ward plans let alone village plans was because the village development committees (VIDCOs) did not know its full mandate.
Mr. Jonayi Ndlovu, who is a village head in one of the villages in the ward said, “Most village heads do not know their full responsibilities, most of us only concentrate on resolving cultural matters, community relations and land issues, we did not know we are supposed to meet as VIDCOs to produce village plans.”
He said, “VIDCOs have weak administrative capacity, we don’t plan and we hardly talk about any achievements in the community. I am a leader but I did not know anything about what the laws says on the roles and responsibilities of a village heads.”
Habakkuk Trust Programmes Manager Mr. Khumbulani Maphosa explained that village plans, which are usually done at the beginning of each year despite availability of resources, are important in community development.
According to the Rural District Councils Act and Traditional Leaders Act, VIDCOs are expected to articulate the needs of a community through development of village plans to be approved by the village assembly then sent to the ward development committee (WADCO) which consolidates all village plans into a ward plan. A ward plan is forwarded to the Rural District Development Committee (RDDC) to form a district plan.