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New Year Message by his Worship the Mayor of Bulawayo, Councillor Martin M Moyo

by Mayor of Bulawayo, Councillor Martin M Moyo
31 Dec 2014 at 18:00hrs | Views
The just ended year has been a remarkable year for the City of Bulawayo, as we commemorated our 120th Anniversary Celebrations and successfully hosted the African Union Sports Council Region Five Under 20 Youth Games. While Council faced many challenges, notable strides were made in addressing these challenges and improving municipal service delivery.

On the 1st of June 2014, Bulawayo celebrated 120 years of its existence as a modern settlement. To commemorate the historic event, various activities spanning from March 2014 to the end of the year were held. The celebrations commenced with a historic display 'Bulawayo @120' which was held in partnership with the Natural History Museum and coincided with the unveiling of the Bulawayo @120 booklet. On the 1st of June, a commemorative historic steam train travelled from Bulawayo Railway Station to Figtree as part of the celebrations. This was followed by celebrations and artistic performances at the City Hall Car Park, ending in a lovely display of fireworks.

Thereafter, the 120th Anniversary Planning Committee, working with different partners successfully hosted the following activities- 120th Anniversary Golf Tournament, partnered with Intwasa Festival for a historic play and Fashion Show. A Cricket Tournament was also held while various dance and musical shows were held at Council's youth centres. The celebrations also included a sponsored walk and dedicated Days of Prayer for the prosperity of the city and the nation. The City also partnered with Ibumba Festival as part of the celebrations. A comprehensive programme to teach school children about the history and development of Bulawayo was also carried out through quiz competitions in the city's schools. The City is grateful to the Bulawayo community and stakeholders for their support and participation in these celebratory activities that helped make Bulawayo's 120th Anniversary a memorable one.

The hosting of the AUSC Region 5 Under 20 Youth Games was another milestone and historic event for the city and resulted in upgrading and re decoration of the following facilities:

1.  Bulawayo Athletics Club [Tennis ]

2.  Barbourfields Stadium [Football]

3.  Luveve Stadium [Football]

4.  White City Stadium [Netball And Athletics]

5.  Swimming Pool [Swimming]

6.  Bulawayo Polytechnic [Command Centre]

7.  Hillside Teachers College [Games Village]

8.  City Hall [Boxing]

9.  Road Networks Leading To All Venues

10. ZITF(Basketball)

 
The City of Bulawayo is grateful to the Government of the Zimbabwe for the honour to host this prestigious youth sporting event.

On the 01 January 2014, the City was owed $77, 2 million.  This figure has since ballooned to $90 million as at the end of the year.  This is compounded by consumers failing to settle their indebtedness to Council thereby compromising service delivery.

It is noted that most consumers are feeling the economic squeeze as a result of some companies folding, which has resulted in high unemployment. Furthermore, the Harare High Court ruling prohibiting Local Authorities in disconnecting water without a court order adversely affected the City's collection.

Lack of investment in the city and the prevailing liquidity crunch negatively impacted on Council's financial outlook. The first quarter of the year saw cash receipts averaging $5 million as opposed to $6,5 million for the same period in 2013.  Council requires on average $7, 2 million per month for the provision of basic services.

Council approved a standstill budget of $103 762 104 for year 2014.  Actual income and expenditure up to November 2014 amounted to $84 250 331 and $75 572 801 respectively.

Progress has been made in producing audited accounts for 2010 and 2011.  The 2010 accounts are awaiting final audit report.

Regrettably cash available could not finance the budgeted activities for the year, leading to reduced service delivery levels.  Furthermore, Council could not get cheaper sources of funds to finance the bulk of capital expenditure.

Council continues to nurse a one month back log of remuneration to its employees.  Due to diminished cash-inflows, salary creditors' balances have also risen. This has seen Council entering into payment plans with its creditors.

Water was our main priority for 2014 and commendable strides were made in improving water quality and supply to consumers. To this end, the year saw an improvement in the city's water supply situation due to rainfall received at the beginning of the year boosting the volume of water to its supply Dams and leading to re-commissioning of two dams, Umzingwane and Upper Ncema which had been decommissioned in 2013. This resulted in the removal of the water shedding scheme introduced in 2012, which initially started with a 48 hour period per week and resulted in 72 hours per week in 2013.

City consumption is currently averaging 124 000 m3 per day. There is a marked improvement in the supply of water in comparison to the restricted water consumption which was 95 000m3 last year. It should be borne in mind that the infrastructure used to transmit and distribute water has deteriorated and this increases reports of pump system failures and frequent pipe bursts. Apart from that, electrical power surges impacted negatively on water supply with pumping having to be temporarily suspended on numerous occasions.  Efforts, however, were made to continuously treat, transmit and distribute water timeously to the consumer.

Council completed the Inyakuni- Insiza back- feeding project to enhance water storage at Inyankuni and minimise spillage losses from Insiza Dam. There was also an improvement in pumping from Mtshabezi to Mzingwane Dam. Council subsequently saw an improvement in the abstraction figures from the supply dams while servicing of Lower Ncema spillway gates was completed.

Gold panning continued unabated in the Council's dams catchment area.  Council rangers, with the help of Zimbabwe Republic Police continued with some periodic joint operations and arrests were being made from time to time.

During the year, Council cleaned the following bulk clear water supply reservoirs –Ncema, Fernhill, Tuli, Criterion and Cowdray Park, resulting in improved water quality. Water quality was further enhanced by the rehabilitation of filters and clarifiers at Ncema and Criterion reservoirs. Flow meters at Criterion and Tuli were rehabilitated to measure output and flow rate as a part of Council's Water Demand Management strategy. Regrettably, the Cowdray Park / Nyamandlovu line was prone to abuse as people collected water from leaks along the pipeline.

Testing of the water quality of the boreholes was also carried out. Rehabilitative work was conducted on the Nyamandlovu Aquifer Boreholes and pumps and a flow meter to measure output and volume of the water pumped per day was installed. Unscheduled power outages and faults around Nyamandlovu also affected pumping of water. Abstraction was also limited as only 15 boreholes were connected to the system.

Old pipes were replaced in Northend and part of Queens Park under a mains renewal programme. Council also installed and commissioned domestic and industrial meters.

Rehabilitation of various sewer plant and equipment were conducted during the year. Rehabilitation of Aisleby No.3 works and Thorngrove Sewage Treatment Works was conducted. Efforts were also made to resuscitate the reclaimed water supply to the City's major parks. Challenges were encountered as Council faced inadequate materials, plant and equipment to tackle some of the sewer collapses occurring due to obsolete infrastructure.

While Council continued to battle with sewer collapses, notable works done included replacement of sections of the following sewer outfalls;

1) Luveve 450mm outfall section –servicing mainly Luveve and surrounding areas

2) 100 metres of the Nkulumane 650mm concrete outfall leading to SAST

3) Repairs and replacement of 500 metres of the collapsed 450 mm AC piping at Western Transport, CSC outfall.

In addition, there were concerted efforts to tackle the sewer chokes and blockages. Council obtained borrowing powers to the tune of $13,2 million for sewage reticulation projects. The tendering process is ongoing.

In the provision of housing, Council serviced the following housing estates within the City of Bulawayo by (20 December 2014):

·         Pumula South                          700 stands       ongoing

·         Emhlangeni                             391 stands       ongoing

·         Mahatshula                              300 stands       done

 

There were inadequate funds to acquire more equipment and transport, while availability of skilled manpower was also a challenge.

 A total of 2572 stands were allocated in Cowdray Park Hlalani Kuhle. 1 052 stands have also been identified and are pending allocation in the following areas

-         562 Emhlangeni Phase II Medium Density; and

-         490 Magwegwe North High Density Suburb

 

Efforts were intensified to improve the city's environment. Refuse collection remained a challenge due to shortage of vehicles. Council operated with five reliable vehicles and the remaining 17 vehicles required constant mechanical attention. The planned acquisition of two refuse compactors in 2015, will bring slight improvement in the city's refuse management. A multi stakeholder platform was constituted to help enhance the city's ability to respond to the growing problem of littering and to restore Bulawayo's reputation of being one of the cleanest cities in the world.

Grave digging was mechanised during the year which enabled Council to improve the provision of graves. To cope with the increasing demand for burial space, a new cemetery was identified and is waiting gazetting. Council is awaiting the delivery and installation of a new cremator at West Park Cemetery.

The shortage of nurses in the city's clinics remained a challenge as clinics operated with 62% nursing staff establishment.  This led to long waiting time for services at clinics. The laboratory at Khami Road Clinic was relocated to Thorngrove Hospital laboratory during the year, following the latter's renovation. A cold room was fitted at the main pharmacy to improve medicines efficacy.

In the provision of public lighting, Council was able to attend to at least 88% of all tower lights in the Western Areas and work is still in progress to reach the mandatory 95% which is internationally acceptable availability of public lighting. Six tower lights have been modified and equipped with LED fittings. Two of these tower lights are at Emganwini, one at Magwegwe and two are at Emakhandeni. All the major roads into the city were attended to and evidence on the ground indicates that even Victoria Falls road is now back in the fold after many years of being without lights. Designs have been made for those areas that currently don't have any lighting infrastructure at all and work on the ground will begin next year.

During the course of the year, close to 97% of traffic lights were attended to and 86 out of the city's 89 intersections and junctions are working.  A tender was awarded to a local company to supply equipment for twenty (20) intersections with Light Emitting Diode (LED) traffic light equipment. This will bring the number of intersections on LED to seventy five (75). LED lights consume little energy and are highly visible and have a lot of aesthetic beauty as evident in our roads. New lunar and auto motor controllers have been installed at seven intersections as a preliminary step towards synchronisation of traffic flow in the Central Business District. Ten intersections have been supplied with inverters to ensure continuity of traffic control during periods of load shedding. Vandalism and theft of public lighting equipment by members of the public remains a cause for concern.

In the provision of emergency and rescue services, the City of Bulawayo's Fire and Ambulance Services attended to 685 fires and 243 special service calls, with an estimated property value of US $ 48 166 720 at risk, while the estimated losses due to fire was valued at US $ 1 364 095.A site for a new Fire and Ambulance Services sub-station was identified in Cowdray Park Suburb.

The City of Bulawayo Fire and Ambulance Services processed and approved a total number of 178 building plans with a value of USD 32 697 208.48, while the Ambulance section attended a total of 22 165 calls .

The shortage of manpower was the major challenge hindering the provision of effective and quality Fire and Ambulance Service delivery. Financial constraints were also a challenge that hindered such major developments as construction of a Fire and Ambulance sub-station in Cowdray Park. The other challenges included the continuous vandalism of fire hydrants especially in the western suburbs of the City of Bulawayo. Inadequate staff, coupled with a depleted fleet of ambulances to adequately cover the entire city and its surroundings also affected the service.

Unreliable vehicles for fire prevention activities also compromised the quality of service provided. Acquisition of two fire appliances (fire engines) and an array of fire, rescue and ambulance equipment from U.K.'s humanitarian charitable organisation - Operation Florian went a long way in complementing existing equipment. City of Bulawayo Fire and Ambulance Services has partnered with Operation Florian of United Kingdom a charitable organisation for the past four years and the charity has been donating Fire, Rescue and Ambulance equipment and conducting various trainings to the staff.

A site for the Ambulance Training School was identified within the Nkulumane Fire Station.  All the equipment necessary for the school opening has been sourced and now awaits inspection from the Health Allied Board. Renovations of the Training School will be conducted to meet requirements of the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education once funding is available.

With the increase in the number of factories shutting down resulting in massive unemployment, there was a significant rise in informal activity within the city particularly vending. To mitigate against the ailing national economy and high unemployment levels, a total of 787 vending bays were identified and allocated in the City. 30 formerly closed shops were re-allocated, 8 commercial and service industry bays were sold and nine factory shells re- allocated. The plans to provide proper vending marts or shelter to informal traders were however hampered by critical shortage of capital funding.

Efforts were made to foster economic linkages between the business community and with their counterparts in eThekwini and Polokwane through exhibitions at trade fairs.

Only 3 out of 6 swimming pools in the city were operational during the year under review.  The other three pools remained closed due to lack of financial resources needed to operate them. However, Barbourfields swimming pool was leased out for a 5 year period subject to review.  A complete refurbishment programme will be required to resuscitate the other closed pools in the city.

During the year under review Sizalendaba Secondary School, the first Council secondary school had its first examinations sitting for O level.  The construction of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) special class and computer laboratory block at Malindela Primary School, Pumula North was completed. Building projects were also carried out in various Council schools with Ngwalongwalo Primary School at Pumula South being roofed and a special class and computer laboratory block for Early Childhood Development at Manondwane Primary School, Nketa 7 being completed. Work was also done at Mkhithika Thebe Primary School in Cowdray Park with administration and class room blocks being roofed.

In 2013, pupils who wrote Grade 7 examinations in most Council schools did very well. Emganwini, Ntshamathe and Mgiqika occupied the top three positions among the Council schools.

Council continued with its policy of assisting the vulnerable groups of the City such as the elderly, those aged 70 years and above who qualified for 50% supplementary charges and rates rebate both in high and low density suburbs.

In addition, a total of 192 children in 24 secondary schools in high density suburbs were assisted with the payment of schools fees to the tune of $11 520. The scheme targets vulnerable children such as orphans and child headed households. Each school in conjunction with the social workers identified intelligent children and recommended them to Council for bursaries.

The skills training programme at Tshaka School Leavers, Mzilikazi Home Craft, Inyathi Youth Centre and Mzilikazi Home Industries continued to run albeit under severe financial strain. The various disciplines on offer are motor mechanic, plumbing, welding, painting, building, carpentry and agriculture.

Council also received invaluable support from various partners who played a major role in complementing Council's efforts in the provision of improved quality community and educational service delivery to the City's populace.  During the period under review, Council received assistance from the following organisations- Book Aid International (London) donated reading material for Council's nine libraries, Munn Marketing donated magazines and newspapers, while the British Embassy, donated sewing machines and accessories for the Home industries. Assistance was also received from the British Council who funded skills training and basketry workshops for the Home Industries section.

In the commercialised entities, the City of Kings Business Ventures launched two websites to market itself. This improved the number of foreign visitors in the first quarter to 243. Local visitors rose from 996 in the first quarter to 1583 in the second quarter and 1251 in the 3rd quarter.

February 2014 saw the appointment of a new board of directors for Bulawayo Municipal Undertaking. The undertaking moved from loss to profit during the course of the year. This was evident from the profit margins achieved as they moved from a negative 7.7% to a positive 9.3%.

Ingwebu requires $4million to refurbish the brewery plant and increase distribution vehicles. City of Kings, through funding provided by Council renovated and refurbished its mainstay, the Caravan Park.  It also requires capital funding to install a perimeter fence around the nature reserves to curb poaching and contain the migration of animals out of the game reserves.

While the year 2014 has had its achievements and challenges, the City of Bulawayo looks forward to a very exciting and optimistic 2015.

My appeal to the people of Bulawayo is to gear themselves for new opportunities that will be availed as we consolidate and make further inroads in the implementation of the national ZIMASSET. The economic and social transformation agenda requires all stakeholders to actively participate in the development of the nation. The City of Bulawayo in line with its vision of being a leader in local governance excellence, must pioneer innovations and solutions in local governance and municipal service delivery.

The Bulawayo City Council invites residents, commerce, industry and all stakeholders to pay for municipal services and help rebuild Bulawayo.

May 2015 bring you all, good health, success, love, and peace.

COUNCILLOR MARTIN K MOYO                                                                  

MAYOR   31st December 2014


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