BULAWAYO – While some leaders have volunteered themselves for leadership positions, Councillor for Bulawayo’s Ward 26, Norman Hlabano, says that was never the case with him.
“It wasn’t my choice but I was asked by the residents to stand for them as a councillor.” he told ZDDT News.
Ward 26 covers Emganwini Township, situated 10km from the Central Business District, along the Bulawayo-Plumtree Highway.
Having served as a councillor in the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) for nearly 10 years now, Hlabano has chaired a number of Council Committees since he came into office in 2008 including Engineering Services and Environment, while he currently chairs the Water Committee.
This experienced community leader, who has benefited from ZDDT’s leadership training, has also acted as mayor of Bulawayo on a number of occasions. ZDDT recently caught up with the ever enthusiastic Hlabano to find out what inspired him to get into local government.
“Right, I will hit the nail on the head,” he began his explanation.
“During my yester years, I used to be a government engineer in the clothing industry but, as things went haywire, companies started to close down and people started to stage the so-called stay-aways and then I was also affected to an extent that I felt together with the community that something had to be done on behalf of the people.”
He said it was however not easy for him to accede to the residents’ request.
Born in Filabusi District, Matabeleland South Province, on the 17th of February in 1958, Hlabano completed his primary education at Tshingwango Primary School in the same district, before proceeding to Chegato in Mberengwa for his secondary education.
Asked in June what it felt like when he was the acting mayor, Hlabano, who prides himself as a people-driven councillor, had this to say: “A Mayor is a councillor. Like I said earlier on, I have chaired various committees; I am comfortable, there is nothing new about it.”
The Ward 26 Councillor, who has maintained that leadership is being a good listener, says he does not see his job as a tough one.
“What happens is, if you are representing the people, you need to be flexible in taking any challenges which may come by you. So, at this point in time, I do not see it being a difficult task,” he said.
Hlabano has been instrumental in the setting up of the Emganwini nutritional garden project, now known as Greenfields, which is supported by the Zimbabwe Development Trust (ZDDT) with funding from the Direct Aid Programme, GDG and Sally Foundation both of Australia.
Over 100 families from Emganwini’s Emasotsheni section are set to benefit from the massive project.
“I am very excited about this great development initiative brought in by ZDDT,” said Hlabano recently.
“This is a very big and massive achievement in my life history, because to have over 100 people benefitting is a great achievement. I feel very proud and I thank ZDDT for coming up with that initiative.”
Hlabano is one of the active participants in the BCC monthly full Council meetings as well the ZDDT Zone Meetings.