BY SENZENI NCUBE
Magwegwe residents have resolved to petition their councillor Concilia Mlalazi whom they accuse of corruption as she is allegedly using the public works scheme to recruit people close to her at the expense of other residents.
The public works scheme was launched in 2017 with council authorities aiming to assist venerable residents from different wards to undertake manual work to raise funds to pay their rates.
The manual work includes picking up litter, clearing drainages along roads, filling potholes and slashing of grass.
The petition is going to be delivered to the Town Clerk Christopher Dube, the Mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni and the councillor herself.
Speaking during a resident’s meeting, Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) legal officer, Marilyn Sibanda said it is the resident’s constitutional right to petition the councillor.
“We have been sending various invitations to the councillor but she is not even attending meetings, this petition is their constitutional right to bring her into an arena where they can question her on issues affecting them”, she said.
“Residents are saying they want to be part of public works in the ward but the same people are always the ones employed for these opportunities over the past 15 years.
“Each time the councillor is confronted with these issues its either she does not attend the meeting and at one time she got violent.”
She said the petition is meant to question the councillor on the criteria she uses to employ people to do menial works in the ward.
However, the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) secretary, Nqobile Ndlovu said residents expect the petition to yield results.
“We expect this petition to have an impact so that Bulawayo Mayor can realise that this issue is now a concern in ward 18.
“Our councillor now uses this programme on a partisan basis and yet everyone is meant to benefit from this scheme,” Ndlovu said.
He said they want the programme to be removed from the council and be put under social welfare.
“This programme has to be removed from council hands and be put under social welfare so that all residents benefit from the programme”, he said.
Another resident Phathekile Ndlovu said the petition is meant to push for transparency in the scheme.
“This programme was meant to help the needy people in communities and when it started we thought it was going to operate on a rotational basis bus now we only see same people over and over”, said Ndlovu.
Meanwhile, Sihle Sithole a resident also weighed in saying the councillor has to treat every resident equally.
“She is our councillor, she was voted in and won but now she has to regard everyone as equal not only focus on her party members alone.
Efforts to get a comment from Cllr Mlalazi were fruitless as her mobile phone was reachable.