The Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Botlogile Tshireletso has warned Ward Development Committee (WDC) members against misusing public funds and failure to account. She was speaking last week during her meeting with WDC members in Francistown.
The objective of the meeting was to interact with different WDC members from Francistown and to hear their concerns.
“I often receive information that some WDC’s or Village Development Committee members have a tendency of failing to account to the communities regarding public funds or property. That should come to an end and should not be tolerated at all as the funds and properties under their care belongs to the community. You should be aware that unlike in the past VDC’s or WDC’s are now regulated by the Local Government Act. VDC’s or WDC’s can be brought before the law if they do not do things right,” she said.
Tshireletso emphasized that VDCs and WDC members play a pivotal role as they are the eyes of government concerning issues in their communities. She added that this is so because they have first hand information about the welfare of people in those communities.
Raising their concerns at the meeting, a number of WDC members pleaded with the government to recognize their work through giving of awards just like council employees and other civil servants. They also implored government to empower them with training as times have changed, including their scope of work. Among other important issues, the members also pleaded with the minister to look into increasing wages for VDC members.
In response, the assistant minister agreed to their demands. She said that their work should be recognized as that of civil servants through awards of best peformers. On the issue of wages, she however said they should bear in mind that theirs is voluntary work. She said the government will look into the issue.
“You should know that WDC’s or VDC’s are volunteers. I feel that if they are paid salaries, the members would not perform as expected from them as they would be working for money rather than the community they are supposed to be serving voluntarily. The little that they are getting is not a salary but it is a way of thanking them. I however fully agree that the government has to look into increasing their compensation because these people have families to look after and their scope of work has increased over the years,” she said.
Currently WDC’s and VDC’s are paid in a range of P350.00 to P380.00 per month.
Tshireletso also said that WDC members should work closely with their councils for them to be able to contribute meaningfully to community developments.
“I also want to plead with the members to familiarize themselves with their communities and identify members of the community who are in need. They should have proper information as to whom should be assisted and who should be given first priority,” Tshireletso said.