People of Bulawayo demand power, water and industry

Bulawayo residents have demanded that the council and the government next year address, once for all, water and electricity shortages bedeviling the city and some other parts of the country.

“The city council needs to explore alternative revenue streams so that it can fund capital expenditure on roads and other services.” – Duminani Nkomo
“The city council needs to explore alternative revenue streams so that it can fund capital expenditure on roads and other services.” – Duminani Nkomo

The organising secretary of the Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (BPRA), Ambrose Sibindi, said his organisation expected both the government and the local authority to sort out the city’s water crisis, which has seen some residents going for several weeks without water. Sibindi also demanded that the government come up with a solution to the incessant power cuts affecting residents and industry.

“Enough is enough,” he said. “We want rationing and power cuts to go next year. The government should complete the construction of the Gwayi/ Shangani dam as a matter of urgency so that the city can have enough water for the residents as well as business,” said Sibindi.

He said next year the council should also revert to its weekly refuse collection schedule to curb illegal dumping, which is rife in the city.

Following government’s directive to local authorities to cancel debts, Bulawayo city council has been facing serious financial challenges, which have led to the suspension of refuse collection.

Sibindi also called upon authorities to revive and establish more youth training centres to equip young people with work skills, and to prioritise the revival of Bulawayo industries.

“The only game-changer in terms of quality service delivery and the welfare of residents is the revival of industries. When residents are employed, they will be able to pay their rents and fend for their families. That will ultimately lead to improved service delivery and stress free-residents,” said Sibindi.

The chief executive officer of Habakkuk Trust, a faith-based organisation,

Dumisani Nkomo, said next year the government should put in place legislation to make provincial councils and metropolitan councils more effective in ensuring development and services.

“There is need to ensure that the Gwayi/Shangani dam is completed. The city council needs to explore alternative revenue streams so that it can fund capital expenditure on roads and other services,” said Nkomo.

He said if councils failed to explore other avenues of funding, they would continue to struggle to extract money from the hard-pressed populace. Nkomo also called for the regeneration of Bulawayo industries and the rail system.

“There is need to revitalise the rail system, which made Bulawayo the centre of industrial activity. Industries also need to be re-positioned so that they can focus on new areas of production or else we will continue to compete with inferior products from other countries,” said Nkomo.

He said he expected government to create an atmosphere conducive to investment by refraining from populist policies and pronouncements.

A Pumula resident, Violet Moyo, said she wanted to see the Zimbabwe Electricity Authority (ZESA) fixing the electricity shortages that had long plagued the country.

“Where I reside, a lot of women have been mugged and sexually abused while fetching firewood in the secluded bush. Next year, I am really pleading with the new minister of energy to address the issue of power shortages. This problem has really affected women,” said Moyo.

Another resident, Margret Shoko, said she wanted the government to address the issue of high rents by landlords.

“The government should protect residents from unscrupulous landlords. Most of the landlords have indicated that they will be raising rents next year, yet most people are not being paid at their places of work. A lot of people, especially in Bulawayo, have also lost their jobs,” said Shoko.

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