‘Pay Up’ council urges Cowdray Park residents

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) says the construction of roads and bridges in the Cowdray Park`s Garikai/Hlalani kuhle area is the responsibility of residents through a self-financing model.

The residents were settled in the area, after government launched Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order in 2005.

The government failed to properly service the area before handing it over to the local authority.

“The government handed over the project on March 7 2012 where City Council inherited over 13 000 households that were in need of servicing in the form of roads, water and sewer. This was done in line with a 2009 Cabinet resolution and Council started working on the project on April 11 2012,” the City Council`s senior public relations officer Nesisa Mpofu told CITE.

“At the handover, there were no meters to individual households and the area did not have any form of servicing (water, sewer, roads and public lighting).”

Mpofu said a financial model was thus proposed for the Cowdray Park Hlalani Kuhle residents.

“This entailed each resident paying US $ 50.00 per month at the same time enjoying a rates holiday for the duration of the project-six years. The project total cost was estimated at USD 46 Million, with each stand costing between USD 3200 and USD 3500,” she said.

Mpofu explained that although contributions for servicing were done by the residents on a monthly basis, not much cash flow is being realised hence the slowness in progress of the project.

“During the month of December 2015 and early 2016, consultations were carried out which revealed that residents preferred that the proposed USD 50 per month contributions be reduced even further.

“This resulted in Council resolving that $50 monthly payment be reduced to $15 per month (as requested by the project beneficiaries). Residents were requested to also make a once off payment of US$200 towards the balance of servicing stands (reduced from the price of their stands) and $85 for water connection”.

Mpofu said the City Council explained to the residents that this reduction would push further the number of years needed to complete the project.

“It is important to note that the Cowdray Park, Hlalani Kuhle project is a self-financing project whose progress is dependent on residents’ contributions.

“During the consultation meetings held by the City of Bulawayo with the residents, the agreement was that servicing be done systematically starting with water, sewer, roads and lastly public lighting. Council is thus adhering to this priority list and funds received for servicing are channeled in that order,” said Mpofu.

Mpofu said the Council is doing its best to implement stop gap measures such as regrading to make the roads passable while awaiting funds to complete the works.

“The construction of the bridge hence requires capital financing. Residents have been advised that delay in funding the servicing has an impact on the ability of council to finalise the projects in the area,” said Mpofu.

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