OUTGOING Bulawayo city councillors say they made significant contributions to the development of Zimbabwe’s second largest city.
However, residents expressed mixed feelings about their performance as their term of office comes to the end next week.
Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni told Southern Eye that they achieved a lot during their term of office, despite operating under a difficult economic situation.
“Bulawayo is run like a country, there is perpetual succession, people should not judge our performance using the Egodini project, it is a perpetual succession,” said Mguni.
“We inherited the project from other councillors. We are happy that we are leaving it operational. Terracotta had only won the tender without a deed of lease.”
He said councillors managed to have the lease signed and followed through a council resolution to pay.
“We commissioned a contact centre and development permits were also issued during the term,” he said, noting that phase one had many challenges which were compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, effectively throwing the November 2023 completion deadline off course.
Mguni said the outgoing councillors also successfully operationalised the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Improvement Project and the Khami sewer project.
“We came up with a new housing strategy by engaging private developers to service the stands. As a result, we managed to commission three sites of housing stands and three more are yet to be commissioned, hence we managed to reduce the housing backlog,” he said.
“We also managed to separate our town planning department and it became a stand-alone department to create efficiency. We are the only council with substantive departmental heads with clean records as witnessed by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.”
The outgoing mayor also indicated that his council implemented some interventions on water challenges in the wake of persistent droughts throughout their term of office.
Mguni said the Tendy Three Investment (TTI) parking system was introduced to reduce congestion in the central business district (CBD).
“The TTI parking system is not a revenue stream but meant to develop the parking zone. The funds have made the CBD navigable and we hope to extend it up to 3rd Avenue. This is an exchange programme, it will be handed over to BCC after six years and we are now half way through the project. We are realising US$40 000 per month from the parking system,” Mguni said.
In an interview, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association chairman Ambrose Sibindi, however, said the outgoing councillors fared well in areas such as refuse collection in the suburbs, but failed to do the same in the CBD, describing the city as filthy.
“One is measured by his or her performance, councillors did well in the supply of water to the residents under difficult conditions although they failed to follow the schedule. Council clinics are best run despite shortage of resources,” Sibindi said.
He said the city fathers dismally failed in the Egodini project, noting that they were supposed to cancel the tender and give it to someone else who has the capacity to deliver.
“The outsourcing of skills to service stands spelt doom for the Bulawayo residents, those people who managed to buy the residential stands here are people from outside, not on the housing waiting list because the price of stands were out of reach for the locals. They are supposed to buy their own equipment to service stands,” he said.