Bulawayo residents have reacted angrily to plans by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to implement the supplementary budget despite objections by the city`s various stakeholders.
The local authority was forced to table a supplementary budget after its 2019 budget was eroded by hyperinflation and rise in the cost of goods and services.
However, residents and other stakeholders expressed reservations at the supplementary budget saying the proposed new tariffs were beyond the reach of many.
The local authority is already owed in excess $184 million by its ratepayers
Despite the objections, the city mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni said the local authority will implement the supplementary budget.
“We cannot then watch Bulawayo die in the face of these harsh economic fundamentals which everyone can see. We need to take measures, and sometimes we have to make unpopular decisions to ensure we continue providing a service to the city,” he said.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) chairperson Ambrose Sibindi said that it is reckless for the local authority to take residents for granted.
“We have already written to the Town Clerk (Christopher Dube) regarding the matter
because residents deserve an explanation,” said Sibindi.
“Council should take these budget consultation meetings seriously because they are now depriving many residents of their right to contribute to the city’s budget.”
He went on to say that the council does not treat the budget consultation process with the importance it deserves
“Budget consultations will soon lose their value due to the council’s failure to implement submissions by residents.
“The budget consultation is the most important process that is supposed to bring out favourable solutions to both parties and the local authority has to understand that it is not just an event.”
In a separate interview with CITE, the Bulawayo United Residents’ Association (BURA) chairperson Winos Dube said that it is worrying that the local authority does not factor in residents’ input.
Dube said that the local authority’s decision to go ahead with the budget despite residents` objection reveals that the council carries out these consultations to satisfy the requirements rather listening to residents.
“If the majority of residents rejected the budget the council should respect that because they are here to serve the residents not the other way around,” said Dube.
“If the council ignores the plight of the residents then what were the public consultations for?”
BURA chairperson alluded that BCC should take into consideration what people are earning.
“It is not only the local authority that has been affected by the economic meltdown in the country, but residents are also suffering.”
Meanwhile, Sibindi concurred with Dube that the local authority should put residents first.
“The council is supposed to report back to the residents and come up with
a compromise that is going to benefit everyone,” he emphasised.