Byo council divided over water

water_bucket_headBULAWAYO - Councillors at the City of Bulawayo are divided over
the establishment of a separate water and sewer account that would
ensure that revenue generated from the two amenities is not used on
other services.

The Minister of Water Resources, Management and Development, Samuel

Sipepa Nkomo and the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban

Development, Ignatius Chombo, had requested all councils to adopt the


The citys financial director, Kimpton Ndimande, has come out in

support of the ministerial recommendation – saying if it had been

implemented earlier, the collapse of the water and sewer system might

have been averted.

On the other hand, councillors have called for an impact assessment

report on other council activities, which were being subsidised from

revenue collected from the two services.

The councillors are concerned that if the water account, expected to generate 63,36 percent of total council revenue this year, gets ring-fenced service delivery would collapse.

The latest council report shows that Ndimande presented the ministers request to councillors on 29 March.

The financial director said his department had put in place plans to

open a bank account where all income from water and sewer would be

deposited. He said the account would also be used for all expenses pertaining to

water and sewer.

Ndimande said the 2011 budget estimated that $65 239 232 (63,36

percent of the $102 952 085 total budget) would come from water and

sewer services.

The budgeted surplus on the two accounts is $39 798 033. This can

be used to subsidise other services, said Ndimande.

He said services like health, roads, social services, fire and

ambulance that relied on cross subsidies would not deteriorate.

In the discussion that followed, Councillor Reuben Matengu of ward 21

said some departments could be incapacitated if the scheme was put into

place, as they did not generate sufficient income and yet they

provided services to other departments.

The Mayor, Clr Thaba Moyo supported MNdimande.

Responding to questions, the director of engineering service, Engineer

Simela Dube explained that the proposal was already a council policy.

Council in November 1998 resolved that water, sewerage, refuse

removal and road be managed as strategic business units. The concept

has been adopted and implemented by some local authorities in South

Africa, notably Ethekwini Municipality, with great success, he said.

The Town Clerk, Middleton Nyoni, advised that the relevant

departments would carry out a study on cross subsidies and submit a


After further discussion, it was resolved that the recommendation of

the ministries and the finance department, be adopted in principle.

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