BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has resolved to retest its workers who are in isolation in order to increase the number of workers reporting for duty and reduce the burden on its depleted staff.
The council has been forced to operate with skeleton staff after some of its workers went into isolation after testing positive or got exposed to COVID-19.
Ward 17 councillor Sikhululekile Moyo, who chairs the water and sewage management committee announced the decision on Monday during a virtual meeting between council and residents.
“We have a good number of both sewage and water treatment staff members who tested positive or were in contact with persons who tested positive to COVID-19 and were sent to isolation,” Moyo said.
“Some members, who had tested negative still were forced into isolation, crippling service delivery. In that regard, we have engaged with the health services and organised that those who tested negative be retested this week and if found still negative, they then can resume work.”
Moyo said council was working on increasing general workers to improve service delivery.
The residents expressed concern over council failure to attend to sewer bursts on time.
Moyo said they were expecting equipment that would improve sewage systems in Mpopoma and Mzilikazi suburbs which are the worst affected by sewer bursts.
“Council is expecting delivery of sewer materials and equipment for Mpopoma. We are in the middle of engaging the procurement unit to accommodate flexibility of the three sewer contracts currently running so that there is flexibility in assigning working sites,” he said.
“This will allow the council to include and prioritise any other hotspots that come up during the execution of these contracts. One out of the three contracts is already flexible, today (Monday) we have finalised the second one and this week we will finalise the third contractor.”
Moyo said under the African Development Bank (AFDB) and WaterWorx (Dutch government), council benefited from smart pressure reducing valves and gate valves.
“It is an on-going project which, when complete, will assist in managing pressure intelligently and, therefore, reduce bursts which often occur at night.”
Last week, town clerk Christopher Dube said because most employees were on isolation it had severely affected council operations.