Bulilima Rural District Council has announced plans to upgrade Figtree and Madlambuzi Rural Service Centres to growth points in the coming few years.

The development is expected to see the establishment of critical social and economic infrastructure in the two areas.

The local authority is currently seized with surfacing roads and upgrading the water and sewer reticulation infrastructure in Figtree while the Sabbath Day Adventist Church has expressed interest in constructing a school and clinic in the area.

At Madlambuzi Rural Service Centre, about 90 families are expected to be relocated to pave way for the development of commercial and industrial activities.

“Our hope is to link the area with Mabhungane dam where we want to come up with an irrigation scheme, which in the past used to support the industries in Plumtree. So if we go forward with the plans that we have with the diasporans to resuscitate the irrigation scheme some of the industries will have to get their inputs and raw materials from the irrigation scheme,” said Bulilima RDC CEO Mr John Brown Ncube.

Although the traditional leadership is happy about the impending development in Madlambuzi they expressed concern over efforts by a former MDC ward 11 councillor who is coercing villagers to resist plans to relocate them to another area.

“We are happy that this development will help in the creation of jobs for our children. We are also excited that some services that we normally travel 95 km to access in Plumtree will be within reach,” senior village head Mr Simon Ndebele said.

“There are some people who are trying to derail this expansion programme for their selfish political interests but we hope that their plans will not succeed,” said the village head Mr Grey Ndlovu. 

The community leaders alleged that the former councillor has taken the matter to human rights lawyers.

Communities who are relocated to pave way for the development of key infrastructure have always been compensated by the government.