THE MDC Alliance and Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association have challenged ratepayers to take part in consultative meetings for the local authority’s 2019 budget that will run next week for their input to be captured.
BY SILAS NKALA
“We urge Bulawayo residents and all key stakeholders to be proactive by attending these crucial consultative meetings for meaningful engagement. It goes without saying that in view of recent outbreaks of waterborne diseases and water shortages, one of the top budget priorities during this outreach should be on investing in water and sewerage infrastructure,” said Oscar Ncube, a senior MDC Alliance official.
“In the past three years, council has been unveiling a standstill budget with no tariff increases to cushion ratepayers against the harsh economic environment. MDC applauds the gesture and urges council to maintain this stance. The levels of decline in formal employment are alarming as evidenced by the number of people turning into vending.”
Ncube said as MDC, they also appeal to the Local Government ministry to expeditiously approve budgets and not wait to do so after several months, as this tends to negatively affect service delivery.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association organising secretary, Ambrose Sibanda, expressed concern over the poor attendance at past consultative meetings, saying ratepayers were left at the mercy of council officials.
“Water has been a problem in Bulawayo and the first point is that council must address this through the budget allocation towards water facilities and supplies. The city also experiences numerous sewer pipe bursts and is failing to collect garbage, so council should allocate adequate resources towards service delivery to curb disease outbreaks,” he said.
Sibanda said some sections of society have been calling on the local authority to leave clinics open 24/7 and that council should allocate enough resources towards that.
He said council should consider creating youth centres for unemployed youths and also set aside funds for housing provision.