This weekend Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) will conduct two public meetings at Entumabene Hall (Ward 10) and another at Beit Hall (Ward 15). Both meetings will be held on Sunday 31 July 2011 from 2pm to 4pm.
At the meeting to be held at Entumbane Hall the Councillor, Prince Dube, is expected to deliver the councillor’s report, present the community based planning team and address other issues to be raised by residents. These meetings offer residents a platform to engage the BPRA ward committee and the councilor in discussing various issues affecting residents. The meeting to be held at Luveve (Beit Hall) will, on the other hand, discuss the use of the Constituency Development Fund. The Member of Parliament, Reggie Khumalo, will inform residents about how the $50 000 allocated to the Luveve constituency was utilized.
On Sunday 10 July 2011 Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) held a public meeting that was attended by 150 residents from Nketa 9 at Mgiqika Primary School from 2pm to 5pm. The meeting served to offer residents from ward 25 an opportunity to discuss service delivery issues affecting them. Amongst the issues raised at the meeting was the continued marginalisation of the people of Matabeleland, arguing that people from the region are not given equal opportunities to people in other regions in Zimbabwe. They said due to this, people from the region had fewer job opportunities due to nepotism with mostly people from Mashonaland getting jobs as most companies are owned by outsiders. In the same vein, they cited that children from Matabeleland had difficulty obtaining scholarships, with mostly children from Harare and other areas of Mashonaland getting them. They also alleged that even in Zimbabwean universities, including NUST and Lupane University which are located in Bulawayo, children from Bulawayo and Matebeland were few with most students coming from Mashonaland.
Residents of Nketa also accused the city council of selectively disconnecting water for residents with outstanding bills. They said there was corruption at the city council with those tasked with disconnecting supplies for defaulting residents receiving bribes in exchange for not disconnecting water supplies. The residents called for the city council to stop corruption within its ranks and ensure that residents are treated equally. Residents also complained of poor refuse collection. They noted that even when BCC refuse collection trucks come into the area, the council workers do not collect all refuse, but select some items and leave others. This leaves residents with no choice but to create illegal dump sites in the streets, bushes and in trenches.
Delegates present at the meeting were Member of Parliament for Nketa, Seiso Moyo, ward 25 Councillor, Edward Ndlovu and BPRA ward 25 committee.
|Cllr Edward Ndlovu , flanked by members of the BPRA Ward Committee, opens the meeting.|
|A residents airs his view.|
|Member of Parliament Hon. Seiso Moyo addresses residents|
Disconnection of services worries residents
Disconnection of water and electricity by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) respectively for residents with arrears has appalled residents, who feel that the institutions are being insensitive. Since the beginning of the year, ZESA and BCC personnel have been going around residential areas in Bulawayo disconnecting defaulting residents in a bid to recover debts. Bulawayo residents feel that the service providers are being insensitive as it is common knowledge that most Zimbabweans are either unemployed or earning salaries below the poverty datum line, hence most families are having problems meeting their obligations. BPRA has recommended that the two service providers meet with residents so that payment plans are made and disconnections avoided.
Residents call for improvement of city’s roads
Bulawayo residents have castigated the Zimbabwe National Road Authority (ZINARA) for its failure to maintain roads in the city despite the fact the body is getting funds from tollgates. ZINARA has also been accused of skewed allocation of funds for road maintenance. According to residents, the dilapidated state of the city’s roads could be a cause for accidents while motorists are negatively affected as the poor state of roads could damage their vehicles. Residents also expressed that they feel that the authorities have not done much in terms of patching up potholes this year, with major routes especially in the townships full of potholes. They said the situation would spiral out of control if the next rainy season begins and nothing has been done to deal with potholes. Bulawayo residents have previously argued that there is a need for a complete overhaul of roads in the city as they are in an advanced state of disrepair. As it stands, patching of potholes has become a repetitive seasonal exercise that has cost rate payers lots of money but failed to deal with the problem. The authorities thus need to come up with a viable plan to deal with the problem of Bulawayo’s poor roads once and for all.
Residents’ arguments on ZBC licences
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) on Sunday 3 July 2011 held two public meetings in Cowdray Park and Emakhandeni. Among the issues for discussion was Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) television licences. This came at a time when ZBC personnel have been going around urban areas notifying residents that they should pay their television licences – which are pegged at $50 – and an additional $20 which is a fine for late payment, bringing the total to $70. At the meetings, residents described ZBC licences as tantamount to robbery, forwarding the following arguments:
- Residents said ZBC programming was of very poor quality, characterised by repetition of programmes and political propaganda hence it was unreasonable to charge Zimbabwean as much as $50 in licence fees.
- Most residents have resorted to satellite television due to poor programming by ZBC hence they cannot pay for a service they are not accessing.
- Residents also argued that the licence fees were steep in light of the fact that most Zimbabweans are unemployed while those who are employed earn salaries averaging $200, which is barely enough to meet necessities such as food, transport, electricity, water, school fees and emergencies such as medical costs.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) will on Sunday 3 July 2011 be holding two public meetings in Emakhandeni and Cowdray Park. The meeting in Cowdray Park will take place from 10am to 12pm at Mahlathini Primary School while the one in Emakhandeni will take place from 2pm to 4pm at Emakhandeni Hall. The meetings are meant to discuss pertinent issues of service delivery including disconnection of power for residents with arrears by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), disconnection of water and erratic refuse collection by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC), and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) television licences.
These issues have been identified by residents in the two areas as needing to be addressed hence BPRA has provided a platform for the residents to air their views on them. Representatives from ZBC and BCC have been invited. The councilors for the areas will also be present.