Councillors blast incompetent workers

Source: The Chronicle – Breaking news

Councillors blast incompetent workers 
File picture: A suspected burst pipe resulted in the caving in of the road surface as the unsuspecting driver of this truck passed through yesterday morning along Khami road in Bulawayo.The Bulawayo city council has been experiencing multiple bursts of both sewer and treated water pipes due to old lines which are due for replacement. (Picture by Eliah Saushoma)

Sikhumbuzo Moyo,

BULAWAYO City councillors have blasted council workers for failing to promptly attend to burst pipes in Hillside and Lobengula West suburbs.

In Hillside suburb, clean water has been gushing out of a burst pipe at the intersection of Percy Avenue and Old Esigodini Road since January this year while in Lobengula West a burst pipe has not been attended to since February.

The burst pipes in the two suburbs were reported long back according to Ward 24 and Ward Three councillors Tawengwa Zidya and Mxolisi Mahlangu respectively.

The water is being lost at a time when the city is facing a water crisis which has seen residents going for days without running water.

A Chronicle news crew visited the two sites recently and found the treated water still gushing out of the burst pipes which are yet to be attended to. 

A stream has now developed stretching from Percy Avenue to Leander Avenue and some residents are now fetching the water from the stream to water their vegetables.

There is green lushy grass along the stream as a result of the flowing water.

It was the same situation in Lobengula West where residents were found filling their containers with the water from the burst pipe.

“This pipe has been like this for almost four months now at a time when we are subjected to a stringent water rationing. What worries us is that the same council is not doing anything about these leakages and we now wonder if we still have a council,” said Mr Nkululeko Ncube, a resident.

Another resident, Ms Sinikiwe Dube, said they could not rule out the possibility of council billing them for the lost water since it was no longer doing physical meter readings.

“We keep receiving high water bills despite long periods of dry taps, how is this possible? There is a huge possibility that we may be paying for their lackadaisical approach to such serious matters,” she said.

Speaking during a full council meeting held at the council chambers last Wednesday, highly charged councillors said it was worrying that council staff were not moving in unison with the council’s objectives and vision regarding service delivery.

“We report these burst pipes but workers are not responding hence we continue to lose large quantities of treated water,” said Clr Mahlangu.

He said on April 22, he passed through Lobengula West council offices and reported the burst pipe but he got the shock of his life when he found the pipe still un-repaired on Wednesday.

“It is a shame that we are taking poor old women and men to court over debts of US$250 when we have water that has been gushing out for this long. 

“What are we saying about this, is it a matter of equipment or simply council staff being lazy to do their work,” said Clr Mahlangu.

He demanded to know how much time council staff takes to attend to reports of burst pipes given that the city is facing a water crisis.

Clr Zidya said the Percy Avenue/Old Esigodini Road intersection has been turned into a car wash by pirating Honda Fit drivers.

“We have been writing letters to the relevant department but no action is being taken. Residents are also worried that even thieves may take advantage under the guise of washing their cars. This leaking problem started in January,” said Clr Zidya.

Another Councillor, Meli Moyo of Ward 22 said council workers were not implementing council resolutions.

“Let me say it without any fear or favour, I feel like there is a serious sabotage in this house. If it’s not sabotage then there is serious incompetence, which needs to be addressed urgently,” he said.

Council is on record saying it is losing 30 percent of water through leaks and burst pipes.