The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) has called on the newly elected councillors to focus on improving service delivery in the city.
In a statement, BPRA Coordinator Permanent Ngoma said the association believes that the city can only progress if there is meaningful participation of all citizens and all relevant stakeholders.
“BPRA strongly believes that meaningful participation of all residents and all relevant stakeholders in the city of Bulawayo’s policy-making and decision-making process should guide the development agenda of the city,” said Ngoma.
She said the newly elected councillors should focus on addressing the city’s perennial water challenges, waste management problems, and inaccurate billing system.
“The issuing of inaccurate astronomical bills has a negative effect on the collection of revenue from residents due to the loss of confidence in the system. Instead, there should be an accurate billing system that is favourable to all interested parties without having one party being disenfranchised with exorbitant bills,” she said.
Ngoma said there is also a need for an inclusive participatory budgeting process where all residents and relevant stakeholders are consulted and given the opportunity to meaningfully participate.
“Meaningful participation speaks to the timeous distribution of information (Financial statements etc.) for residents’ scrutiny prior to consultations. Local authority budgets should be inclusive and gender-sensitive in nature without excluding residents in the process of budget-making initiatives,” she said.
Ngoma also called for the completion of outstanding projects in the city, such as the Gwayi-Shangani water project and the Egodini Mall.
“The outstanding Egodini mall project ought to be followed up on and residents be given accurate and adequate feedback on its status,” she said.
She said the BPRA believes that public procurement processes should be transparent and that audit reports should be made public.
The association also envisions a city that has an effective and transparent means of public-private partnerships.
“Partial-privatisation of parks and other recreational facilities are potential alternative revenue streams which the local authority can tap into and stand guided by innovative leaders of the highest integrity,” said Ngoma.