RESIDENTS of Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park, Emganwini and Nkulumane suburbs, have blasted the local authority for failing to address the city’s poor drainage system, which has caused flash floods in the residential areas, causing massive damage to household goods.
BY SILAS NKALA
This follows floods that hit the suburbs last week, rendering some roads impassable.
“Here in Cowdray Park, we have always experienced flooding due to the poor drainage system. Water from other suburbs such as Luveve flows to New Stands, and there is nowhere to direct the water resulting in serious flooding,” a resident, Stanley Masuku, said.
He said the footbridge constructed by council was impassable during the rainy season.
“As schools open, children who go across the river will miss school this term season, a phenomenon which has always affected the area, but it’s sad that council is unwilling to resolve the problem,” he said.
Another resident, Richard Ncube, said children and women end up paying some men to assist them cross the flooded river.
Ncube said council was wasting a lot of resources putting gravel on roads, which is then washed away by the rains, making the area inaccessible even for emergency services.
Contacted for comment yesterday, mayor Solomon Mguni said council officials conducted flood awareness campaigns on January 4 in Cowdray Park, which residents snubbed.
“I guess because the stand-in councillor has not yet started work in that ward. Council is very committed to dealing with flooding in ward 28, just like it is committed to dealing with flooding in Tshabalala, Mahatshula, Pumula and Nkulumane,” Mguni said.
“The problem with Cowdray Park is that council is inheriting a slum settlement from the government’s Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle projects as well as private developers who sold land near a stream. Our engineers are doing all they can to make corrective measures.
Mguni said the issue of the footbridge was a contractual issue.
“We all want that bridge completed in real time. In fact, that main road should be tarred. But council awarded a tender to a contractor who is promising to deliver. Now that we will be having a stand-in councillor for the area, we hope to be briefed on challenges and prospects,” he said.
“I shall soon be touring the area with the engineering committee to assess progress on those projects so that we are all hands on.”