STATEMENT BY HIS WORSHIP S MGUNI THE MAYOR
Following the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaration of COVID – 19 as a pandemic and the declaration by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe as a national disaster. The City of Bulawayo has come up with the following preventive measures with immediate effect:
- 1. Suspension of weekend flea markets (Khothama) with immediate effect. The City recognises that while the weekend flea markets provide a source of revenue for the City’s informal traders, they also congregate large numbers of people increasing the vulnerability of resident spreading Corona Virus to Bulawayo. At the present moment, the City of Bulawayo does not have a case.
- 2. Cemeteries – The City has made a decision to limit the number of mourners at a Cemetery to a maximum of thirty (30) per family. The backfilling of graves will now be done by Municipal staff and not members of the public.
- 3. As per the Government of Zimbabwe proclamation, the City reiterates that there be limitations of attendees at gatherings such as churches, funerals, weddings and meetings to less than 50 people. We discourage gathering and appeal to residents to minimise congregating.
- 4. Shops are required to make limitations to the number of customers inside a shop at any given time, observe social distancing and they are required to make provision of sanitation facilities at each entrance.
- 5. The City will be working with the informal traders for a reduction of vending stalls at the markets such as 5th Avenue in line with the social distancing recommendation of at least 1 metre apart.
- 6. The City of Bulawayo is further engaging the transport industry to reduce their fleet, number of passengers per given time and also to provide sanitation equipment in all their vehicles and offices and display prevention measures.
- 7. Bulawayo City Council will be scaling up Health and Hygiene education programmes to all stakeholders which include informal traders, travellers, shop operators and transporters. A hailer will go around sharing Health messages for the public so as to empower the community of Bulawayo with information necessary for the protection against the global pandemic.
Further to that, a workplace response plan has been developed in view of the national and global developments on the disease.
Council employees, graduate interns and students on attachment are at risk of contracting the disease hence the following measures which have been put in place to protect them from exposure.
The promulgation of the Statutory Instrument 77/2020 (Public health (COVID -19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) Regulations 2020 as well as the possibility of the country degenerating into level 3 COVID-19 disaster with full lock down, the following measures have been put in place to protect the Council employees.
Taking into consideration that we are currently at Partial Country Lockdown the following are in place:
- 1. Continued training of Municipal Staff on COVID – 19.
- 2. Council is promoting the distribution of hand sanitizers to all Council staff including contract workers, graduate interns and students on attachment and placement of hand sanitizers at all entrances , reception areas and ensuring that all visitors sanitize their hands
- 3. Council is reducing the number of meetings, and ensuring that the maintenance of 1 meter social distance in all meeting venues and that the venues are well ventilated and windows open.
- 4. Pregnant female members of staff are at high risk as such they have been encouraged to take vacation leave prior to maternity leave .
- 5. Keeping in line with social distancing, office arrangements have been re-assessed and designated isolation rooms have been set up per department e.g. at Tower Block, Revenue Hall and City Hall.
- 6. Any staff member who is not feeling well with flu like symptoms should not report to work. They shall report their illness to their supervisors as per Council procedure.
- 7. Council will adhere to all restrictions as outlined in the COVID-19 national disaster announcements.
- 8. Decongestion of the workplace to prevent exposure is underway. This shall be achieved through voluntary leave by those staff members with sufficient leave days. The employees will apply for leave as per normal council procedure. Council departments will also implement staff rotation to limit the number of people in the work place.
- 9. To protect and prevent possible infections, we are encouraging members of the public to use alternative means of communication to access municipal services, for example use of emails, phone calls and online payment platforms to contact Municipal Staff.
The City of Bulawayo would like to advise members of the public that should we obtain a scenario of a full Country lockdown the following will be implemented;
- 1. Essential services will remain in place using skeletal staff.
- 2. Majority of the staff members will not be required to report for duty.
- 3. Council shall remain guided by the Presidential announcements and related statutory requirements throughout the duration of the COVID-19 National Disaster.
The City of Bulawayo Dam statistics as at Thursday, stand at 32.99% which places the City in a precarious position in terms of water supply. The City of Bulawayo is currently implementing the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) project with support from the African Development Bank and the Government of Zimbabwe.
The BWSSIP Project is an ongoing project which is anticipated to end in December 2020.
Currently we have numerous ongoing projects and the major ones being the replacement of pumps at Ncema and Fernhill Pump Stations, rehabilitation of Criterion Water Works, rehabilitation of Southern Areas Sewer Treatment Works (SAST), Water mains renewal (Meter replacement) and rehabilitation of sewers in Cowdray Park and other western areas.
All these major projects have committed timelines contractually, which as Council we are obliged to adhere to so as to secure the AFDB Bank’s trust to unlock future funding.
The City’s ability to attract additional funding therefor depends on how we perform on the current project. The Works that have just been completed were planned in 2016 (four years ago) prior to the Corona virus outbreak.
The City of Bulawayo would also like to further advise members of the public that these works are necessary to prevent the collapse of the system.
Further to that Bulawayo has applied itself and all issues were considered, COVID - 19 included in all its programming.
COUNCILLOR SOLOMON MGUNI
MAYOR OF THE CITY OF BULAWAYO