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BPRA weekend activity report: 17 February 2013
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA)
February 18, 2013

On Sunday this past weekend (17 February 2013), Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) held two consultative meetings in Emgawini (ward 26) and Nketa (ward 25). The meetings provided platforms for residents to engage with their respective councillors (Clrs Norman Hlabana and Edward Ndlovu) on pertinent issues of service delivery and local governance. The meeting in Nketa was also attended by the Senator for the area, Senator Siphiwe Ncube and representatives of Tshova Mubaiwa to discuss transport issues.

The major issues discussed at the meetings included:

  • The water situation in Bulawayo - The councillor for ward 26, Norman Hlabana, told residents that water levels at the city's dams now stand at 72 percent of capacity. He informed residents that due to this, the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) had reduced water shedding from 96 hours a week to 72 hours a week. In both meetings, the councillors informed residents that the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) would be connecting electricity to the pumps at the Mtshabezi Dam pipeline as the diesel generators had been unable to pump sufficient volumes of water. Meanwhile, residents expressed concerns with BCC's water billing system, arguing that it was faulty and needed to be looked into. They said they felt that their bills were inflated as they were getting high bills despite the fact that they do not use much water due to water shedding.
  • Housing - The councillors informed residents that BCC would be transferring ownership of all local authority owned houses to residents subject to payment of unspecified amounts of money at a discount. Residents from suburbs such as Iminyela and Pelandaba have previously demanded ownership of houses they have been occupying for many decades. More recently, residents of Millennium Housing in Emganwini staged a demonstration against BCC demanding ownership of the houses they live in. Bulawayo has a long standing housing problem, with thousands of residents on a waiting list to access housing stands.
  • Education - In Emganwini, residents expressed concerns that schools were too few to cater for the growing population. Calls were made for the government and BCC to build more schools to ensure that the quality of education in the area does not plummet any further. Concerns were also raised that school authorities and School Development Associations (SDAs) were colluding to increase school fees without consultation of the majority of parents, who often cannot afford the fees and end up having their children illegally denied access to classes for non-payment of fees.
  • BCC Social Welfare - Residents also called for BCC to revive its social welfare programme, which they said was imperative in light of the high levels of poverty prevailing in the city.

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