BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) claims that development of new residential stands has been hampered by constant breakdown of its plant and machinery, with graders hardly working beyond two consecutive days.
The local authority is battling obsolete equipment, with various programmes such as sewer pipe repairs behind schedule owing to a breakdown of equipment and machinery.
According to the latest report of council’s environmental, management and engineering services committee, the breakdowns had stalled several projects.
“The preferred procurement method was the use of in-house teams, but the challenge faced was to balance the road maintenance needs and the servicing requirements taking into consideration that council plant and equipment is now obsolete,” part the report read.
“The graders hardly work for two consecutive days without breakdown, hence outsourcing work to a certain level was unavoidable. The inter-departmental committee was discussing financial and implementation strategies before engaging the beneficiaries on the way forward.”
Bulawayo has a housing backlog of over 100 000 units with less than 30 000 housing stands being availed in the past decade.
In December 2018, council approved the sale of housing stands in United States dollars — a move that was widely rejected by residents as anti-poor.
“The project, Emhlangeni 2 servicing (502 stands) had been taken over by the council after the termination of the contract with the awarded contractor. The construction works had been divided into two phases,” the council report added.
“However, progress on roadworks was being affected by constant breakdown of plant and equipment and that the available plant and equipment was being shared with general road maintenance activities.”