Heavy rains leave trail of destruction in Byo, Karoi

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In Chitungwiza, just after the rains.

BY PATRICIA SIBANDA/ NHAU MANGIRAZI
Strong winds coupled with heavy downpours uprooted trees that fell on houses and damaged roofs in Bulawayo’s Makokoba high-density suburb last week.

Some of the affected residents told NewsDay that they alerted council about the danger posed by the trees, but council took long to deal with the issue.

One of the affected residents, Priscilla Ndlovu said she heard a branch falling on top of her roof and it destroyed the roofing sheets.

“After the roof was damaged, the rain poured into my house damaging property worth thousands of dollars,” Ndlovu said.

Makokoba Environmental Club and COVID-19 co-ordinator Dingaan Ndlovu expressed concern over the risk posed by ageing trees in the suburb.

“These trees have been here for many years. They now pose a risk to lives as they can break anytime.  About five species of fig trees are found in Makokoba. Most of them are overgrown. Typical characteristics of fig trees are that they have a very invasive lateral root system that spreads up to very long distances under the soil and their roots can break foundations and brick walls and even lift up buildings,” Ndlovu said.

He called on the Bulawayo City Council to cut down the trees on time.

“Most inhabitants of these houses are elderly women and men who can no longer afford paying for the costs of cutting the trees,” he said.

Makokoba ward seven councillor Shadreck Sibanda said he went to the site on Friday and assisted residents to trim the trees.

“The trees had done a lot of damage to houses. We trimmed trees and we are left with a few issues to deal with,” Sibanda said.

He urged residents to pay rates so that trees that pose a danger to their properties can be cut.

“Council is not responsible for cutting down trees at people’s houses,” he said.

In a related matter, incessant rains have exposed poor planning by Karoi Town Council that has seen residents in Claudia suburb marooned due to poor drainage system.

A disgruntled resident, Willard Hwata, said the local authority had not honoured its pledge to develop the area.

‘‘We are agitated by Karoi Town Council’s failure to build a foot bridges that connects residents to Chikangwe and the central business district.

‘‘Personally, I have questioned council logic of inviting us to budget formulation meetings when it cannot upgrade our roads or collect garbage among other services. Karoi council has failed its mandate in service delivery,’’ Hwata said.

He challenged council management to visit the area and witness the poor services.

‘‘Our appeal for better services have fallen on deaf ears as management has nothing for us in their plans. This is improper for a service provider like a local authority,’’ Hwata added.

Council chairperson Abel Matsika confirmed that the local authority had not attended to Claudia residents concerns.

‘‘It is true that the town council has not built bridges for Claudia residents. We are planning to do our part once the rains ease. We are sorry over this and we are going to rectify it soon,’’ Matsika said.

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