Residents bemoan ZBC licences

zbh_logoBULAWAYO residents have expressed dismay over Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) Television licences that they are required to pay annually. This comes after ZBC employees, have in the last few weeks, been going around informing residents that they owe the broadcaster US$50 in unpaid licence fees for this year and an additional US$20 in penalties for late payment.

What has irked residents most is that most of them no longer tune into ZBC, preferring broadcasts from outside the country that they access through satellite television providers such as Multi Choice. Most Zimbabweans in urban areas have been resorting to satellite television due to poor programming by ZBC. In addition, residents have argued that the television licences are steep taking into account that most people are unemployed while the few that are employed are earning paltry salaries that are below the poverty datum line. Residents also believe that it is unfair for them to financially support ZBC when it is well know that the broadcaster is a state broadcaster as opposed to a public broadcaster and therefore propagandistic in nature. They said there was a need for ZBC to improve its programming, be converted into a public broadcaster and licence fees to be reviewed downwards to cater for residents with low incomes.

Residents denounce chasing of children from school

Residents have denounced the chasing away of children from school saying it is an affront on the right of access to school for every child. Since schools opened on Tuesday 10 May 2011, numerous schools in Bulawayo have been sending children home for unpaid fees. This is contrary to the countrys Education Act that stipulates that no child in the country should be denied access to school for failure to pay fees. This has however been happening because the Ministry of Education lacks the resources necessary to police schools in the country to ensure that school heads do not abuse their power. What has exacerbated the situation is that most parents are either unemployed or earning paltry salaries meaning that they have difficulty paying school fees for their children. This effectively means education has become a privilege for the rich. Similarly, children are being chased away from school for non-payment of teachers incentives. In light of the above, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) is in the process of penning a position paper that it will submit to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education and the Ministry of Education Sport, Art and Culture. In the paper, the association will highlight the problems that it sees with what is currently happening in the countrys education sector and offer possible solutions.

Winter load-shedding schedule disappointing

Residents have said they are disappointed that this years Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) winter load-shedding schedule is the worst since load shedding intensified in the last three years. They said they were disheartened by the fact that ZESA officials have the audacity to notify the nation that some residential areas will experience power cuts at least twice a day with some going for between five to ten hours without power supplies. In addition, the parastal has said most residential areas will experience power cuts six days out of seven in a week. Residents said this showed that ZESA was failing in its mandate to provide the country with its power needs. Interestingly, while failing to provide constant electricity supply, ZESA executives and employees alike earn fat salaries. Bulawayo residents last year demonstrated against the parastal expressing displeasure with the poor service provision. The effort was however in vain as ZESA continues to swindle residents, charging them exorbitant bills but failing to provide electricity. In the past month, power cuts have intensified with most areas experiencing power cuts almost every day. Residents have also expressed dismay with the fact that ZESAs billing system does not cater for the hours lost without power.

Residents Voices Issue 51

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