Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) has implored the local government ministry to block a proposal by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to doll out ZWL$25 million on a mayoral house.
In a confidential letter that was leaked to the media, an interdepartmental committee recommended that the council construct a new house for the mayor in Selborne Park.
However, the proposal was met with mixed feelings from various stakeholders in the city, with residents urging the local authority to put more attention on improving service delivery.
In a letter to the local government minister July Moyo, BPRA coordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu said the residents were not consulted.
“BPRA is concerned by the level of negligence by BCC to consider a cost-benefit analysis as they have resolved to construct a new mansion instead of renovating an earlier identified house in Burnside whose cost would be at least 50% less than the new project,” Ndlovu said.
“Residents are also worried because the mansion was not mentioned on the 2021 budget. The decision by the local authority to virement funds from other accounts is a bad financial practice and is against tenants of good corporate governance. It gives room for abuse of funds by public institutions.”
To fund the project, the interdepartmental committee proposed that ZWL$25 000 000 is to be viremented from vote 0084/12244 ($16 200 000) and 0084/12245 ($8 800 000) to cater for building costs for the Mayoral house.
Ndlovu reiterated that the move goes against guidelines of the Public Finance Management Act as capital projects of that amount should be budgeted for and go through all processes which include public scrutiny via budget consultations.”
He said the move is ill-timed considering the poor service delivery which is currently affecting the city. “Bulawayo is characterised with burst sewer, pothole-ridden roads, piling refuse in street corners, non-functional street lights, unfinished housing projects and a dissatisfied staff due to delayed and pending salary arrears,” he said.
Bulawayo residents have hence indicated that this is poor governance, misplaced priorities which breed corruption as operational funds are diverted for unbudgeted capital projects which will further cripple service delivery.”
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology