ZVISHAVANE Town Council ward 10 councillor Anglia Banda (pictured) says she is ready to tackle challenges faced by residents and improve service delivery.
Having ventured into politics at the age of 40, the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) politician says she finally got a chance to contest for a position in 2018 when she was 57 and she became the first female councillor in ward 10.
This is her second term as a councillor.
“It hasn’t been any easy journey. Men feel their position in society has been challenged when a woman rises to take up a leadership position. This often comes with a lot of resistance,” Banda said in an interview.
Her ward covers some of the oldest suburbs in the mining town, Kandodo, Noevale, Chinda Heights, Kariseni as well as Brown, a squatter settlement.
The areas are known for poor water provision and service delivery, particularly in the high-density residential area of Kandodo, where some residents still use public toilets and communal facilities.
According to residents, the facilities do not accommodate persons with disabilities, and some who cannot walk have to crawl into the toilets, putting them at risk of contracting diseases as the toilets sometimes go for days without being cleaned due to water shortages.
“When these premises were under Shabani Mine, service provision was better, but since the closure of the mine, it has been a challenge,” Banda said.
The responsibility of service delivery had to be transferred from Shabanie Mine to Zvishavane Town Council after which service delivery deteriorated over the past years, leaving residents at the mercy of disease outbreaks due to water shortages and lack of proper ablution facilities.
Shabanie Mine, once considered one of the best asbestos producers in Africa, together with its sister subsidiary Gaths Mine, closed operations in 2007 due to myriad challenges.
Efforts to revive the mine failed and the mine facilities, including housing and sports facilities, water and sewer reticulation system, suffered from lack of maintenance over the years.
Water shortages also stretch to other high-density suburbs in the mining town which include Maglaz, Lot 4, Makwasha and Mandava. Even in large cities such as Harare and Bulawayo, water shortages have become a permanent feature.
Banda added that healthcare provision is a major challenge in her ward.
“Another main challenge faced in my ward is healthcare provision. There is no clinic in the ward, no medication or an ambulance. Many people have died in their homes because they could not get medical attention on time and they cannot afford funeral policies. We had to start our own burial society as women in the community so that the deceased have a dignified burial,” Banda said.
Banda also says women in her ward face a lot of challenges.
“Women are experiencing a lot of gender-based violence, and there are no safe shelters for them. There is also high prevalence of child marriages and it’s the mother who is mostly affected. Women are also left to care for families as their husbands go to work in mines, and this worsens their care giving burdens,” said Banda.
Banda says as a female councillor, she is committed to addressing the gendered challenges facing women in her ward.
“The first thing I’m pushing for is proper sanitation, through construction of more ablution facilities. We also want our own clinic in the ward, as well getting the street lights fixed to ensure the safety of women who knock off late from work,” she said.
She also challenged women in the community to be proactive in fighting for effective service delivery.
“I just want to encourage women to come forward so that we work together for the betterment of our ward,” Banda said.
*This article was supported by the Canadian Embassy in Zimbabwe in partnership with the Centre for Public Interest Journalism (The NewsHawks)