People of the south are usually caught unprepared to grab and make use of the many opportunities that are available to them.
This situation has been described by some residents as worrisome as many people are said to be reluctant or seem dsinterested in being part of the development of the region, and thus available opportunities are usually taken up by people from other regions.
These are the sentiments of some residents who were speaking during a recent private sector engagement meeting on the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP).
National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) regional manager Nicklaas Links says developmental projects earmarked for the region are in most cases taken up by people from other regions, because the local inhabitants are not interested and are not there to grab the opportunities.
“More often in the south we are caught with our pants down – people in the south are reluctant to take part in development and they instead wait for things to come to them,” he stated.
He pointed to the Neckartal Dam project as a perfect example, saying what was meant to be of great benefit to the local people has not really been, as the locals did not turn up and people from other regions flocked to provide services, while the locals further sat idle.
He urged the southern community to get up and make a meaningful contribution to the region’s development, stating “we should take the bull by its horns and be go-getters”.
Local councillor Erenst Jash also shared the same sentiments, saying when development projects come to the south, local people are not in a position to benefit from those opportunities as they are reluctant to grab the opportunities.
“Meanwhile people who are serious come in and grab those opportunities,” he stated.
He however was quick to point out that such projects should give preference to the local people first before looking beyond to other regions.
He pleaded with the relevant authorities to ensure that once completed, the irrigation plots at the Neckartal Dam should be given to local people first in order to empower them economically and in that process alleviate poverty.
He suggested that each regional councillor be allocated a number of plots so that local people from each constituency can benefit from these plots.
Other speakers linked the situation to the high school dropout and poor pass rate, stating that this leads to people not having the necessary skills, as learners completing their matric can’t get into institutions of high learning to acquire the necessary skills and are thus unable to do the job.
They called on special attention to be put on the performance of learners at school level.