Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has defended a decision to channel devolution funds towards Ward 28 saying the ward was considered a priority area as it is the least developed.
Bulawayo councillors last week called for the suspension of Cowdray Park projects as they queried why council management was channelling most of devolution funds towards the suburb.
The councillors claimed that Cowdray Park was being “favoured” as it was under a Zanu-PF councillor, Cde Kidwell Mujuru.
The other 28 wards in the city are under MDC Alliance councillors.
MDC-Alliance councillors claimed that it was not fair that management had channeled more than $1,1 million devolution funds towards Ward 28 yet the city has 29 wards.
However, addressing delegates during the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) delivery indaba held at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre on Friday, the city’s director of Engineering Services, Engineer Simela Dube said Ward 28 which has the Hlalani Kuhle settlement deserves to be prioritised whenever council gets funding.
“I’ve always said the Hlalani Kuhle project when I compare it to Gwanda, it’s three times the size of Gwanda. Our Hlalani Kuhle project has 15 000-housing properties that have no sewer, no water and no access to roads. Whenever the city gets funding, that area is being given priority. And our progress on that should be at 54 percent but is currently at 46 percent mainly because we encountered some rocks in the area,” said Eng Dube.
He said the ongoing BWSSIP will ensure council improves on water, sewer and sanitation issues for improved health in Bulawayo.
Eng Dube said council under the project is replacing some of the old pipes and equipment which has resulted in the local authority constantly shutting down water supplies due to faults.
He however, expressed concern that residents were reluctant to give their personal contacts demanded by council for the purposes of improved services.
Meanwhile, Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube dispelled claims that the council was double billing Mbundane suburb residents which falls under Umguza Rural District Council.
This comes after residents claimed that there could be a dispute between the two authorities resulting in both of them billing the same residents.
Mbundane suburb has gone for over a decade without water connection resulting in residents relying on borehole water.
“We have some agreements with Umguza (RDC) for the provision of services at Mbundane. We have started the process which I think is what is being referred to as double billing because ours is to provide water services and we have approached those beneficiaries to pay at least a deposit so that we are able to connect them. That is not double billing. We are only trying to connect them,” said Mr Dube.
He said the council will, however, not bill Emthunzini suburb as it is an illegal settlement. — @nqotshili