Magwegwe residents have resolved to form a committee to monitor the expanded public works program to curb corruption and nepotism.
An expanded public works program was launched in 2017 with the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to assist vulnerable residents from different wards to undertake manual work to raise funds to pay their rates.
The manual work includes picking up litter, clearing drainage along roads, filling potholes, and slashing grass.
In 2019, Magwegwe residents signed a petition which was delivered to the Town Clerk Christopher Dube, Mayor Solomon Mguni, and the recalled ward Councillor Concillia Mlalazi accusing the councillor of using the Bulawayo City Council’s expanded public works scheme to gain favours.
In a strategic meeting, Tuesday, Nqobile Ndlovu the chairperson of the accountability monitoring committee in Magwegwe said the petition did not yield positive results as there is no clear policy on how the program should be implemented.
“We petitioned the former councillor who was there who exploited public works program, we petitioned the City Council which was signed by close to 700 residents in Magwegwe, we had noticed that the program was partisan. There was favouritism and at the same time, we noticed that there was nepotism, people from one family could benefit more than the rest of the community. It’s unfortunate that we did not get a positive response due to the fact that Council had no clear policy with regards to expanded public works program,” said Ndlovu.
He said residents are strategizing to form a committee that is going to work with the councillor who is going to win in the by-elections so that they avoid issues of corruption.
“You find that some people were rotating from picking papers to clearing trenches and the next day you see them cleaning trenches, we want this program to benefit people in the community,” he said.
Meanwhile, Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) Research and Advocacy Officer Pretty Nxumalo said the challenge that has been identified by the residents is the lack of clear policy on how the program should be administered.
“We received reports that the program has been retooled and the recruitment is not that transparent and there is one who is being accountable to residents, so this has brought about corruption in the form of nepotism, bribery, there is also recruitment by partisan, so residents have decided to come together and come up with sort of a plan how they want to program to be administered,” said Nxumalo.
“The program that they identified is a clear policy on how the councillors should administer the program, with the help of the residents association structures in Magwegwe, today we were coming up with a plan on how this program should be administered going forward as a way of fighting corruption within the program,” she said.