Bulawayo Deputy Mayor Mlandu Ncube has called on the local authority to educate residents on the importance of fire and ambulance services in the city.
Speaking during the latest Full Council meeting, Cllr Ncube noted that the department was not getting enough prioritisation during the drafting of the city budget.
According to the 2022 proposed Bulawayo budget, Fire and Ambulances were placed on number nine of the priority list.
The local authority currently has 6 ambulances but ideally should be having a fleet of 36.
He said the finance committee was mandated to hold meetings with residents and explain to them the importance of these services.
“The engineering and finance committees need to strategise on how to engage residents and other stakeholders on the importance of fire and ambulance services. It seems like whenever we do budget consultation meetings we give the impression that this department is not important, hence it is always at the bottom of the priority list,” Cllr Ncube said.
Ward 4 Councillor Silas Chigora concurred that fire and ambulances must be prioritised considering the prevalence of fires around the city.
“Residents could be encouraged to pay fire and ambulance levies. We understand that we cannot force residents to have insurance but if we talk to them they may understand that we could jointly have insurance for this. That way we may be able to mitigate a lot of factors,” said Chigora.
“Just recently there was a fire reported at a school in Magwegwe and later on it was discovered that there was a grenade at the school. It is against such background that we need to ensure that we have enough resources to cater for fire and ambulance.”
City Mayor Cllr Solomon Mguni reiterated the importance of prioritising the department.
He suggested that the council committees look into the issue and come up with ways of levying the funds to ensure that the city property is protected.