Residents petition BCC to disclose benefits for management and councillors

By Albert Nxumalo

Bulawayo residents are preparing to lay a cocktail of demands on the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to reveal financial benefits availed to management and councillors as part of efforts to promote accountability.

Residents want annual salaries, allowances earned by management and councillors and asset register of officials to be made public, says the petition.

Previous pleas for councillors to declare and have their assets public has found little appetite with some resisting the drive.

A document titled, ‘Petition to publicise senior management and councillors salaries and benefits and a city asset register’ and copied to the Local government ministry is currently circulating in townships for residents to append their signatures.

The petition acknowledges that as part of promoting active citizen participation and accountability in budget consultation processes, various platforms were availed in September for stakeholders to make contributions.

However, such platforms have loopholes, the petition says.

“We as the concerned residents have noted with concern that the budgets do not detail how much is being allocated for salaries for directors and benefits together with benefits for councillors.

“We have noted that this gap in information has led to mistrust between the resident and the local authority and allegations of the abuse of funds” 

Added the petition seen by CITE “There is also a strong belief that the council executives are appropriating themselves a large portion of total revenue and assets to the city disproportionately to themselves to an extent that this is equivalent to misuse of funds”.

In September residents reacted with anger after town clerk Christopher Dube was offered a stand measuring 24,407 square meters as part of his new four-year contract with the local authority.

Dube proposed the stand as one of his conditions of service after councilllors agreed to a contract extension for his second and final term.

As part of measures to clear the mistrust, residents want council “to avail to the residents of Bulawayo how much in salaries, bonuses, allowances, benefits and what is being borrowed or given permanently from council or city coffers or assets to councillors or was appropriated to councillors in 2019 and 2020.”

“Also avail an asset register such that the city knows what it has and how much of it as proof of competence”.

However, residents said if council is unable to meet the demands it must ” create a platform to explain why it cannot do so as we believe it will promote public accountability and confidence in the local authority”.

Once the petition has been submitted to council, residents expect a “response from the council in the shortest period of time not exceeding 10 days.”

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