Aldermen and Councillors, today marks two years of our term of office. It is therefore prudent that we take stock of the work that has been done in the provision of municipal services to the residents of Bulawayo.
This review comes at a time when the city has experienced a diarrhoea outbreak which claimed 13 lives and affected 2000 residents in luveve suburb.
Over the past biennial, two Councillors sadly passed away. Councillors Hapson Nyasha Ncube of ward 28 and Ronnia Mudara of ward 8 passed away in December 2018 and July 2020, respectively.
The vacancy occasioned by the passing away of councillor Ncube has been filled while a by-election is yet to be held for ward 8.
Following a high court udgment, the then Deputy Mayor, Councillor Tinashe Kambarami vacated both the office of Deputy Mayor and Councillor for ward 3 in september 2019.
In conjunction with a local radio station, the emergency services conducted radio fire awareness campaigns that attracted a cumulative audience of close to 700 000 listeners.
Among other factors, this contributed to the twenty-two percent reduction in fire incidences from 624 in 2018 to 487 in 2019
The water shedding programme militates against the emergency services’ fire-fighting capabilities as water has to be carried by bowser to where-ever a fire would have broken out. The efficiency of the emergency services is highly dependent on a reliable water supply through fire hydrants. Water carried in tenders/bowsers lasts a few minutes hence the unfortunate claims that the tenders would have arrived at a fire scene without water.
Council in 2012 started the concept of presale stands where the beneficiaries of the stands paid up front to raise the capital to service the stands. While the project started very well up to 2017 where a total of 3325 stands were delivered, 2018 saw teething problems grinding to a halt nine running projects with a total of 2225 stands. Only one project was successfully delivered in 2020, Selborne Park with a total of 77 Stands. These stands were sold to those with access to foreign currency. The proceeds from the project were also used to procure imported materials such as bituminous materials to complete all the 10 projects.
The projects were affected by volatile economic environment which saw contractors demanding hard currency as early as march 2018. In addition, contractors frequently increased prices in an unpredictably manner, while erratic supplies of diesel also impacted negatively. Certain construction components e.g bitumen, explosives etc that were imported made it difficult to finish the project.
SI 33/2019 introducing interbank rates as well as SI 142/2019 made it illegal to charge/ collect in foreign currency thereby making it difficult to complete projects. The national lockdown of all non-essential services from 30 March 2020 for the containment and prevention of the spread of Covid 19, also affected non essential services.
The state of the city’s road network has been declining due to a large and growing backlog of deferred maintenance programmes which is attributed to lack of funding for decades.
The main source of funding for road infrastructure has traditionally been government allocation, zimbabwe national roads administration (zinara) and revenue accruing to council.
Year on year, budget allocations have compared unfavourably with funding considered adequate to maintain road network.
As a result, the road network has continued to deteriorate due to the gap between maintenance requirements and funding.
At the moment the city is struggling to procure road repair materials which include bitumen, quarry stones, cement, road marking paint, traffic signs etc) due to budgetary constraints.
Regrettably, most of our roads remain in a poor state.
Re-development of basch/lobengula street terminus (egodini project)
The macro-economic environment has affected the completion of the project such as
Vegetable markets and vending
The covid 19 pandemic response called for decongestion of the central business district including vegetable markets and introduction of social distancing measures which has lead to a reduction in total numbers of vendors
Suburban wholesale markets have been created at: Nkulumane Sekusile, Emganwini, Cowdray Park, Pumula old and New Magwegwe and Magwegwe North. Fully operational sites are at sekusile and emganwini. Retail vending markets designs are ongoing in all residential areas and 2000 have been created to date.
In the central business district, seven sites were created: including Cityhall, Lobengula street mall, Highlanders and Bhaktas accommodating a total of 1365 Vendors. Of note fifth ave has been reopened as a road and no vending is permitted.
Regrettably, enforcement of illegal activities remains a challenge due to resource constraints.
Water and sewer projects
The city is currently facing a drought.
The recent rains bring hope that we are coming out of this predicament.
Our dams are at 24.58% full as at 1st september 2020.
Water shedding schedule is affected by vandalism of infrastructure and power outrages which interrupt pumping.
We thank the residents and stakeholders for their continued support and partnership in dealing with this crisis.
Various water and sewer projects are underway as follows:
To address recurrent sewer challenges, work is on going in the following hotspots: Mabutweni, Pelandaba and Iminyela. In future, jetting and wenching will be done in Nguboyenja, Makokoba and other areas
In the last two years, the following achievements were realised by the city:
These developments have gone a long way in ensuring that the city integrates technology in municipal service provision in line with the city’s strategy to be a leading, smart and transformative city by 2024.
Council has been dealing with covid19 cases. As at Tuesday, 1 September 2020 at 08.00 hours, there were 1276 Cases and 35 deaths (2,7% case fatality). Diarrhoea outbreak is under control and alertness still on. There are challenges mainly in testing resources hence the low covid-19 figures. Efforts to prepare for possible surge in cases, and efforts again to ensure continuation of essential services are in place. All clinics are fully open.
Housing and community services thorngrove Hospital refurbishment
The hospital built in the 1940s has been on council plans for refurbishment since 2007. Earnest refurbishments began on 22 april 2020 with government funding spurred by covid 19 pandemic. The main isolation ward is now 97% complete. To date 39m zwl has been committed with an expenditure of 33m zwl disbursed. However, about 95m is still required to complete the full upgrade as has always been desired by council. To this end, only 37% is achieved in overall refurbishments.
Construction of Vulindlela Primary School
The city has a backlog of 30 primary schools. Cowdray Park, the city’s biggest ward has a higher share of the backlog. To address the challenge, council used 5,2m zwl of the government funds from devolution to begin construction of the school in cowdray park. An Additional funding of 115m zwl is still required to complete the project.
Barbour fields stadium refurbishments
Upgrading Barbourfields stadium started in January 2020 to ensure that the stadium is suitable for hosting international matches in line with fifa requirements. A disbursement of 14,4m zwl was received from the government to help with the project. A further 60m zwl is still needed in the medium term for the upgrades to meet minimum Fifa standards.
Academic performance in Council Schools
Council schools have continued to perform well over the years. All the 29 primary schools usually exceeded the 50% pass rate. The library service has seen new initiatives being explored for better service to the community. These initiatives include inspired readers project funded by book aid international where five council libraries and twenty-five (25) feeder primary schools are participating in the Programme; this is five schools per hub library
I thank you all for the unity of purpose and support you have given this council. Let us continue to work as a team for the development of Bulawayo.