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Pay your bills and we fix street lights, BCC urges residents

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) says it is failing to repair faulty street lights due to budgetary constraints and urged ratepayers to settle the $1.2 billion owed to the local authority so as improve service delivery.

Residents have petitioned the council to improve street lighting as robbers are taking advantage of the dark to rob them of their valuables.

Speaking during a media briefing earlier this week, Director of Engineering Services Engineer Simela Dube said the local authority is using the service delivery priority list to attend to service delivery issues.

“When it comes to street lighting in terms of the ranking on the council priority list that is actually agreed by the residents during the consultation, street lighting comes as number nine, as such, at the moment there is very little investment that is there, that is coming to street lighting because like we are saying, we are struggling with water material, we are struggling with sewer material,” he said.

He challenged residents to settle their debt in order for council to channel more funds to service delivery.

“If we improved on payments then the funds start cascading to these other lowly ranked services, such as street lighting, while it has been our wish to improve that service to almost about 75 percent in terms of lighting but it is constrained mainly by funding, but what we have done in some of the wards where councillors have agreed that they use the ward retention fund to prioritise lighting. This is where we see an improvement in terms of street lighting in those specifics, street lighting or public lighting in those areas.”

In addition, the City’s Town Clerk, Christopher Dube said if residents paid the $1.2 billion owed to the local authority, the municipality will implement some stand-by strategies meant to improve service delivery. 

“As long as everyone is struggling how do we then as your council deliver, for services to be delivered there has to be some resources, I can tell you there is no service that will come for as long as there are no resources and the services that you are getting is the level of the resources that you put in the council,” he said. 

“If all this money, about $1.2 billion which is owed, the services would have been better than what it is now and what is then it means there are some people who are paying religiously and we are suspending those who are not paying. Council is not for anyone but it’s for us all, let us pay and I can tell you if we pay, we have got all the strategies that we have as a council to make sure that people get the sources that they require.”

The Town Clerk added that other services such as pothole patching are also suffering due to shortage of funds. 

“For instance, we used to have community groups doing all these minor services like patching potholes but we can’t do this because we don’t have money, we have to buy tar, we have to but all the materials needed for pothole patching but how do we do it when there is no money,” said Dube. 

“At the moment the situation continues to deteriorate we are not able to pay the person who is supposed to be delivering the service, how will they deliver the services if they are not even getting paid. We understand how people feel but let us put our heads together, it’s not something that council can do alone without the residents, it is for us all to make sure that this thing is done and done properly.” 

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