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MDC led Bulawayo Council in fire-fighting mode

by Staff reporter
09 Aug 2020 at 09:50hrs | Views
THE Bulawayo City Council has adopted a draft communications policy as it seeks to improve its image after attracting the anger of ratepayers over alleged corruption involving city fathers and local governance issues against poor service delivery.

Bulawayo city fathers were in denial recently on the role of council over the death of 13 locals from a killer diarrhoea outbreak that also infected over a 2000 others in Luveve and surrounding suburbs.

Reports later emerged that residents had consumed contaminated water, leading to ratepayers through the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association suing the local authority demanding compensation.

City fathers have also been on the spotlight over alleged corruption, particularly involving land and housing stand deals at a time when the local authority is failing to clear the city's over 100 000 housing backlog.

A latest council report of the general purposes committee concedes the bad publicity as city fathers approved a 31 page draft communications policy aimed at improving its image.

"The town clerk (Christopher Dube) reported that communication was critical to good local governance and as Bulawayo commenced its journey of being a leading, smart and transformative city by 2024, it was imperative that a strong and inclusive relationship existed with various stakeholders," the report reads in part.

"Building trust and confidence, strengthening relationships with citizens, stakeholders and staff would enhance the success of the City of Bulawayo.

"It was also critical that the council puts together the resources, skills, structure and policies that help connect with residents, staff and stakeholders."

A separate policy is set to be developed to guide digital and social media communication, the report adds.

The previous and current council has attracted bad publicity as city fathers have been caught involved in corrupt tender and land deals with ratepayers questioning whether they sought votes to improve service delivery or to enrich themselves.

Mayor Solomon Mguni was in the media recently after it emerged that he had been allocated a 2.5hectare plot for urban farming purposes for a paltry $165 lease per month for 25 years, inviting the anger of residents.

The document indicates that the policy is necessary to ensure that council is accessible and accountable to the public it serves and responsive service that is sensitive to
the needs and concerns of the public and respectful of individual rights.

"As an element of effective environment analysis, Bulawayo City Council must identify and track current and emerging public issues and trends reported by the media," the draft policy reads.

"Agreement among stakeholders and their institutions regarding lead responsibility for communications during a crisis or an emergency is essential for the timely provision of accurate, relevant and consistent information.

"It is necessary to facilitate the delivery of services, to eliminate the potential for contradiction or confusion, and to demonstrate municipal leadership."

Source - the standard