Some councillors in Bulawayo are forced to use their vehicles to conduct council business due to lack of proper offices and a serious shortage of office furniture, the latest council report shows.
According to the latest finance and development committee minutes, the city fathers decried the failure by the local authority to properly equip their offices.
“Councillor Mlandu Ncube observed that in the previous budgets, whilst Councillors’ furniture was budget for, no furniture had been procured. He sought clarification on what caused the delay in doing so,” read part of the report.
Councillor Felix Mhaka concurred saying this was not the first time that the problem of office accommodation and furniture was being addressed.
Mhaka said in his case, it was saddening that he was operating from his car since he did not have an office.
He requested the local authority to speed up the process and allocate him an office.
Councillor Tawanda Ruzive suggested that the existing offices be fully furnished and be equipped with enough chairs for visitors.
“There was a need for desk top computers for Councillors to carry out their duties effectively. During the absence of the Councillor, the office must remain functional hence the need to employ someone for that purpose,” said Cllr Ruzive
In response, the Chamber Secretary Sikhangele Zhou said the Housing and Community Services Department would submit a report on the issue.
“She confirmed that furniture could be accommodated in this year’s budget but no provision had been made for desktops at the offices as the assumption had been that the Councillor would use his issued tablet/laptop.
“There was no provision also for staffing the offices by anyone other than the Councillor,” read the minutes.
In 2016, councillors demanded the local authority to purchase tablets or iPads for them arguing that their laptops, which had been bought two years back, were too bulky to carry when coming for council meetings.