Ward 21 residents demand demolition of illegal structures

Ward 21 residents in Bulawayo’s Sizinda and Tshabalala suburbs have implored their next councillor to address the issue of illegal structures in their area and quarry blasting operations which are allegedly damaging their houses.  

The residents raised these issues during a meeting with their aspiring candidates hosted by Habakkuk Trust, CITE and BPRA, Monday. 

Candidates who were present at the meeting were Godfrey Dube for MRP, Makaita Tekere from Zanu-PF and Tinevimbo Maposa from CCC.  

A community leader who introduced himself as Mr Konjera, raised concern over the issue of the illegal structures that are mushrooming in the area. 

“There are a lot of illegal structures that are sprouting everywhere. We want the councillor to remove them as they have become an eyesore here in our community. There is also the issue of drug and substance by our youths,” he said. 

Another resident complained about the cracks developing in their houses due to blasts at Davies Granite. 

“Our houses are now developing cracks from the blasts. We are afraid that one day our houses will collapse while we are inside. What is the council doing to protect people against this?” she inquired.  

Another resident, Matilda Mubaiwa, raised concern about the selection criteria used by the sitting councillor Tinevimbo Maposa to recruit community workers. 

Mubaiwa alleged that most of the selected people were women and were from one political party. 

“Most of the people who are chosen for community projects are women and they are also from one political party. We would appreciate it if the projects were inclusive and accommodate everyone. We have a number of youths who are unemployed and better yet are more energetic, may they also be included in these programs,” she said.  

Another resident highlighted that council was struggling with service delivery mostly because there is no devolution. He said it was important for the councillors, as policymakers, to push for the implementation of devolution in order to secure funds and resources. 

“Where you are headed to is not an easy task. We can change councillors time and again but what we really need to address is the issue of devolution. Funds must be decentralised. Council struggles to fulfill its mandate because the funds are coming from Harare, they take a long time to be approved and sometimes they are even denied access. You can come and promise us things but without those funds you will not be able to fulfill your promises,” he said. 

In response to the concerns raised by the residents, Cllr Maposa dismissed claims that he was only selecting people from his party, noting that some people were reluctant to participate because of their political affiliations. 

“We try to accommodate everyone. People who are in these projects are from various parties, I am a fair councillor. It is some people who have an attitude that decide not to come,” he said. 

“Also, the challenge with youths is that they come but halfway into the project, they say it is too much for them and they drop out, unlike women. Women have responsibilities and they have proven to be stronger than perceived. They do their work diligently so that they can sustain their families.” 

On the issue of illegal structures, he said he would engage the council and relevant stakeholders to look into small and medium enterprises because most people who had these structures were trying to earn a living. 

Tekere said the issue (of illegal structures) would be addressed by implementing policies through the council. She said to address the issue of drug and substance abuse, the community should have functional vocational centres where the youths will learn skills to enhance themselves. 

Dube said the structures are built by the residents and they should be the ones to take them down. He said there is a need to have designated selling places because robbers were now taking advantage, hiding in these shacks and attacking people now.

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