Bulawayo will use its devolution funds to rehabilitate the city’s road network instead of channelling them to the city’s water projects.
This was revealed by the Deputy Mayor and Ward 1 Councillor Mlandu Ncube during an online discussion, Friday, organised by The Citizen Bulletin.
The discussion was held under the theme “Devolution Funds in Bulawayo: Water or Roads.”
The deputy mayor explained that as far as water provision in the city is concerned, the mandate of the local authority is to pump water which is in the dams, treat it and distribute it to the people, a duty, he claimed, that the council has been doing religiously.
He noted that the responsibility of availing bulk water for the residents lies with Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), which has been a struggle for them.
“The responsibility of the council is to pump the available water, treat it and distribute it to the residents. The greatest challenge is acquiring the resource, which in this case is water. This is the responsibility of the central government,” said Cllr Ncube.
Cllr Ncube said due to these circumstances, the council has hence prioritised road rehabilitation as the roads are in dire state but the hold back is that Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) is not remitting funds to the local authority as expected.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) communications officer Kelebone Khabo noted that it would only be prudent for the local authority to make plans to avail water to the residents regardless of the circumstances.
“The residents deserve to have water at all times, as it stands, people in Bulawayo are living like they are in a village as they wake up and queue at boreholes to fetch water,” Khabo said.
“It would only be fair for the council to use the devolution funds to source water first. It would be shocking if the council would really start fixing roads before the water issue is attended to.”
Matabeeland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) coordinator, Kumbulani Maphosa said local authority should step up and make informed decisions that are in the best interests of all residents.
Maphosa said city council should enforce that those responsible for availing resources in the city.
“Local authority is there to make decisions on behalf of the people. We do not expect BCC to do the work of ZINWA or that of ZINARA. The money which we pay as residents should not be diverted. It should serve the rightful purposes. City council must take to account all authorities which do not fulfil their mandate,” he said.
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)