BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has admitted that it is facing serious service delivery challenges, and blamed political detractors of sabotaging development of infrastructure in the city.
Last year, BCC faced a lot of criticism due to poor service delivery which was characterised by water shortages, poor road infrastructure and chaos at vending markets and poor waste and infrastructure management.
Latest council minutes reveal that during council’s first 2023 ordinary meeting, mayor Solomon Mguni stated: “We are meeting when the city is under immense pressure, assault and insults from our political detractors. They have taken every opportunity to twist facts and doctor them to their political advantage.”
Mguni said one senior politician from Matabeleland North province was quoted in the media describing Bulawayo as a city that had turned into a growth point.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu recently said the opposition-led council had turned Bulawayo into a growth point while calling on residents to vote for the ruling party.
“This house must agree with this senior Matabeleland politician and remind him that the collapse of the city's road network in 2021 to 2022 is attributed to failure by government's Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) as the adage goes — statistics don't lie,” Mguni said.
“2021/22 saw the erratic or non-disbursement of allocated Zinara (Zimbabwe National Road Administration) funds, some funds were diverted towards the government’s ERRP programmes. This saw 18 Bulawayo Roads taken over by the Department of Roads and the Central Mechanical and Equipment Department (CMED) and various associated contractors under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.”
He said out of the 18 roads, only three were completed —Masiyephambili; Njube Main road and Masotsha Ndlovu Road.
He said work on 12 of the 18 roads was yet to start, namely, Matopos Road (3km stretch), Leopold Takawira (7,8km stretch), Old Khami Road (5,3km stretch), Khami Road (5,2km stretch), Plumtree road (2,8km stretch), Intemba Road (10km stretch), Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo (1,2km stretch), Lobengula Street (1,1km stretch), Cecil Avenue (6km stretch), Victoria Falls Road (9km stretch) and Gwanda Road (9km stretch).
“All these 12 roads taken over by government for rehabilitation in 2021 are still at 0%. We then have three of the aforesaid 18 roads that have been partially done, but the quality of the work is questionable. Fife Street (2,7 km stretch) — only 15% was done. Nketa Drive (2,1km) 50% is said to have been done,” Mguni said.
“CMED has tried to rectify the problem without success. Sixty (60%) of 12th Avenue Extension is said to have been done. I call upon this house; from across the political divide to speak with one voice as we call upon government to disband the ERRP which has had a deleterious effect on the city's road maintenance efforts. Instead of being an active player, government must capitalise local authorities to handle their own road maintenance units in the spirit of devolution.”