Bulawayo blasts ministries


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The Bulawayo City Council has blasted two government ministries, its parent ministry and that of Water Resources, for sitting on council proposals while at the same time accusing the local authority, through the state media, of failing to deliver services.

Councillors expressed their disappointment with the Ministry of Local Government after the town clerk had revealed that the ministry had misplaced the council’s application for a review of parking regulations.

The council resolved to introduce by-laws that would enable it to clamp and tow away vehicles that were violating its parking laws on April 7 last year. The proposed changes were advertised on June 18 and 21 and were submitted to the ministry on August 13 2004.

According to the latest council minutes, the municipality had made several follow-ups on February 4 this year as well as on May 18 but it was only on June 16 that it was asked to resubmit its proposals because the “original documents could not be located”.

Though the council resubmitted the proposals on August 4 “as a matter of urgency” nothing has been done up to now.

The council is proposing an increase in clamping and unclamping fees from $20 000 to $1 million. Those who damage the wheel clamps will be charged $500 000, up from $63 000 while motorists would have to fork out $1.5 million if their vehicles are towed away.

The council will also charge storage fees of $1 million per day for light vehicles and $2 million a day for heavy vehicles.

Clr Cornelius Ncengani complained that the council could not continue to be castigated for failing to deliver services when the government itself was losing documents aimed at earning the council revenue.

He said to make matters worse the government was not paying its debt to the council yet it expected the same council to continue delivering services.

Government departments owed the council $76 billion at the end of June. The current debt was only $13 billion while $62.9 billion was overdue. Residents owed the council $134 billion, $62.6 billion of which was current.

The executive mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, the main target of the local daily, said the “whole house” shared Clr Ncengani’s views.

The Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Water Resources came under attack for sitting on the council’s application to be declared a water shortage area. The council made its application in August.

The declaration of the city as a water shortage area would enable council to commandeer all available water in and around the city for its use.

Bulawayo introduced water rationing in July but suburbs on higher ground have been experiencing intermittent water shortages since then because they are fed by gravity.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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