THE Bulawayo Progressives Residents Association (BPRA) has threatened protests against the local authority’s extravagance and councillors’ “immoral accumulation of wealth” at the expense of service delivery.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Bulawayo City Council has of late been on a spending frenzy, splashing hundreds of thousands of dollars on vehicles for the mayor and senior council staff. Councillors are also set to receive laptops, a move described by residents as unjustified.
BPRA co-ordinator, Rodrick Fayayo said the association is also mulling suing the council to stop city fathers from “this unbridled profligacy” at a time when residents complain of poor service delivery, while ordinary council workers are owed millions in outstanding salaries.
“BPRA shall be consulting with residents and other stakeholders throughout Bulawayo to determine what can be done in response to this issue. The association is not ruling out options including demonstrations and engagement of lawyers to deal with this poor management of the city’s scarce financial resources,” Fayayo said yesterday.
“This raises concerns that the purchases are designed to maximise councillors’ accumulation before the end of their tenure. BPRA finds it illogical and immoral that a local authority struggling with revenue collection and facing numerous service delivery challenges is increasingly splashing scarce resource on luxuries for top officials.”
City fathers have on several occasions defended BCC spending on fine things on them, arguing it was part of their benefits.
The city fathers have also faced various corruption charges, mostly on illegal land acquisition deals, resulting in Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere wielding the axe on deputy mayor, Gift Banda and others.
Fayayo said the behaviour of the city fathers was worrying.
“BPRA is concerned that there is a noticeable increase in spending on comforts and niceties for councillors and council officials, which is curiously happening when the tenure of the current council is nearing completion.
“For BPRA, these purchases are an indication of misplaced priorities at the Council, which continues focusing on benefits and comforts for senior officials at the expense of service delivery and efficient operations of the local authority,” Fayayo added.