BY SILISIWE MABALEKA / NKOSENTSHA KHUMALO POOR service delivery, amid high rates, has left Bulawayo residents distraught. The residents are also unhappy that the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is introducing 72-hour water rationing schedules, up from the current 48-hour schedule, without consulting ratepayers.
Bulawayo United Residents Association chairperson, Winos Dube said: “BCC doesn’t adhere to the water (rationing) schedules but this comes as a shock to us as residents because we don’t know what the problem is. They are not clear on what is going on but we see the city going dry,” he said.
“We are very disturbed about the current water situation in Bulawayo, this makes us question the kind of administration and policy making that we have. Are they aware of the plight of ratepayers?”
Dube also complained that residents learn of some of BCC’s decisions through adverts and notices.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) chairperson, Ambrose Sibindi suggested that council should suspend water rationing and come up with a proper strategy to permanently deal with the water situation in the city.
Noting that Entumbane ward 10, Emganwini and Nkulumane went for nine days without water Sibindi said: “As residents we feel the council is failing to manage water (rationing), for whatever reasons, it is better for them to stop it for a while and introduce a system that will assist everyone. Council has indexed rates in foreign currency yet it has introduced water shedding.”
BPRA secretary for administration, Thembelani Dube said: “Had there been any consultation we were going to suggest that the rates revert to 2017-2018 levels when the budget was US dollar-based. Without consultation, BCC came up with its own exorbitant US dollar indexed figures which when converted at the official inter-bank rate are unsustainably high,” Dube said.
Bulawayo Revival Team (BRT) chairperson Sanpolous Maplanka blasted councillors for their failure to represent the electorate in council chambers saying they were only concerned about their welfare.
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“All they want is stands, money and benefits. All they do is fight innocent workers who are implementing the decisions made by them. BCC workers are tired and confused now because they are in a rudderless boat,” Maplanka said.
BRT secretary Isabel Linda Zulu urged citizens to vote for people who have people’s interests at heart.
Bulawayo deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube said the water problems were being exacerbated by pipe bursts.
“The infrastructure is very old, hence there are pipe bursts. Electricity cuts also cause water pressure and pipe bursts,” he said, adding that people were not paying rates in local currency and council is failing to purchase water chemicals from suppliers who are demanding foreign currency.