Byo councillors blame July Moyo for poor service delivery

Bulawayo councillors claim the government’s continued interference with council operations through the Local Government and Public Works ministry is stifling progress by imposing unnecessary bureaucracy that affects service delivery.

According to councillors from the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party, Local Government Minister, July Moyo occasionally issues directives that are detrimental to council operations and ultimately, residents.

This sentiment comes after angry Bulawayo residents staged a protest against poor service delivery at the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) main offices last Wednesday.

Their protest was in response to poor service delivery such as ongoing sewage spills, non-collection of refuse, bad roads and a general decline in services throughout the city.

Although CCC councillors stated that they welcomed the residents’ demonstration, in which they demanded that all responsible officials deliver on their Key Performance Indicators, the fault lay with the central government.

“We would like the situation to be resolved as soon as possible in terms of the constitution that governs the relationship between local and central government. We however feel that we must also lay before you the challenges that are hindering our progress as the council,” the councillors said in a statement in response to the recent demonstrations by Bulawayo residents.

“The local government minister frequently interferes with council operations. This unnecessary bureaucracy stifles progress. From time to time the Minister gives directives that are against the interest of the council and residents.”

For example, the councillors stated that the roads are in poor condition, and as CCC councillors, they advocated that BCC purchase excavators and graders using devolution funds for the city.

However, this was thwarted when the local government minister issued a directive mandating the purchase of fire tenders instead.

“It is clear that his (the minister’s) intentions as prescribed by his superiors is to make sure that he stifles progress of the city and then gives a false narrative that we are failing to run the city which is not true.  The government also fails to pay contractors who eventually desert the site under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme and the council is then blamed for failing to utilise the grant allocated to it, yet it is the central government, which neglects to pay contractors in time,” said the councillors.

The councillors went on to say that the central government had also taken away the city council’s power station.

“The Zanu PF government is failing to generate and source enough electricity to meet the city and country’s industrial and domestic needs. Erratic and unreliable power supply is obviously not without consequences, the chain reactions eventually affect everyone and service delivery,” they said.

“Lack of reliable power leads to reduced business capacity or shut down of operations and in some instances a total collapse of those entities. As a result, businesses fail to pay their rates to the council and also businesses fail to pay employees a living wage which in turn causes those employees who are residents to fail to make promptly payments of their outstanding bills to the BCC.”

According to the councillors, BCC is owed billions of dollars by struggling businesses, the government, and underpaid residents, which has resulted in the council failing to address service delivery issues on time.

“Furthermore, this ZESA issue is affecting entrepreneurs in the city who fail to perform their business which they rely on to pay the rates. An example would be a business operating in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods specialising in products like chickens, these heavily rely on a reliable cold chain to remain both suitable for human consumption and viable for the business,” they said.

The CCC councillors claimed they had “the people at heart” and wanted Bulawayo to attain a smart city status.

“We continue working closely with our communities infusing the vision of our Champion in Chief Advocate Nelson Chamisa of smart infrastructure and making the people’s lives better in the City of Bulawayo amongst other cities and towns in our country,” read their statement.

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