By NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) is yet to order equipment worth nearly US$300 000 for the completion of water reticulation works at Aisleby 1 and 2, nine years after council applied for the loan to implement the exercise.
Government in 2014 approved borrowing powers of US$13 261 600 for the refurbishment of water reticulation and treatment infrastructure in Bulawayo.
A latest council report, however, reveals that water works estimated to cost nearly US$300 000 have not commenced with equipment for the project still to be ordered from South Africa.
“Rehabilitation of Aisleby 1 and 2 works was currently suspended pending that the project required imported mechanical equipment to be installed. Part of the equipment had been delivered with some components expected to be delivered in April 2021,” the council report revealed.
“Bio-filter arms for both Aisleby 1 and 2 are estimated to cost US$160 000 plus primary settlement tank equipment for Aisleby 1and clarifier equipment for Aisleby 1 estimated to cost US$120 000 are yet to be ordered from South Africa.”
Ironically, the council has resolved to apply for borrowing powers for $4 billion to fund its $10 billion capital budget.
The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) last week opposed council’s plans to apply for borrowing powers for
$4 billion, arguing that the decision was ill-advised.
The Affirmative Action Group yesterday weighed in, saying “the high appetite for borrowing by this council is worrying.”
In terms of section 290 of the Urban Councils Act and section 65 of the Public Finance Management Act, local authorities can apply for borrowing powers from the Local Government ministry for the acquisition or construction of permanent works or undertakings, the acquisition of immovable property, the liquidation of the principal moneys owing on account of any previous loan and the acquisition of plant, equipment and vehicles, among others.