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BPRA weekend activity report: 24 February 2013
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA)
February 25, 2013

This past weekend (Sunday 24 February 2013), Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) held two consultative meetings at Mpopoma Hall (ward 9) and McDonald's Hall in Mzilikazi (ward 8). The meetings were meant to provide platforms for critical debate on issues of service delivery in the respective wards. The councillors for the wards were expected at the meetings. For the Mzilikazi meeting however, the councillor did not manage to attend the meeting. The meeting was thus turned into a platform for residents to voice their concerns on various issues of service delivery so that follow up (in the form of advocacy and lobbying) can be done by the BPRA secretariat. In Mpopoma, the councillor was present and the meeting progressed as planned with residents engaging with the councillor.

The major issues arising at the meetings were as follows:

  • Residents revealed that some tower lights in Mzilikazi were not working, something that had led to an upsurge in muggings in the area. They called upon the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to repair the tower lights with urgency.
  • Residents expressed concern with the local authority's billing system arguing that their bills were inflated. They based their argument on realisations that their bills had remained at the same levels they were on before the commencement of water shedding in July 2012.
  • In Mpopoma, residents called upon the city council to ensure that people who are awarded tenders to lease out BCC owned shops employ residents from the area. They argued that this was the only way for the community to benefit from shops that are located in it due to the fact that residents in the area cannot afford to lease the shops out themselves.
  • Attendants also expressed dismay with the state of West Park Cemetery. They said the cemetery was not well maintained and said there was urgent need for BCC to deploy workers to maintain the grave site. It was agreed that the BPRA secretariat should pen a letter to the local authority's director of health requesting that such maintenance work be immediately carried out.
  • Youths present at the meetings bemoaned the fact that the youth clubs in Bulawayo were not functioning. They said there was urgent need for the clubs to be resuscitated so that young people can engage their time in useful activities as opposed to loitering in the streets and shops drinking alcohol. The youth also requested to be given pieces of land to engage in developmental projects.
  • Residents from Thokozani Flats in Mzilikazi revealed that they share electricity meters with their neighbours, a situation that had become problematic since the installation of prepaid meters. They said it was difficult for two families to agree on the amounts to spend per month on electricity especially in situations whereby one household uses more electricity than the other. They called upon ZESA to address this issue.
  • The issue of Bulawayo's water crisis was discussed extensively at both meetings, with residents reaching a consensus that the onus was on the government and BCC to increase water supply to the city through completion of the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, building of new dams and through various medium term strategies such as duplication of the Insiza pipeline and fully harnessing water from Mtshabezi Dam.

Visit the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association fact sheet

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