By Vusumuzi Dube
Bulawayo councillors have gone on strike alleging sabotage by town clerk, Mr Christopher Dube and his pool of directors, after they failed to implement resolutions passed during full council meetings.
The action could bring every service in the city to a standstill as councillors set policy and procedure followed by the local authority.
The councillors from the Future Water Supplies and Action committee have vowed never to sit as a committee until council officials repair boreholes in the city following reports made by the councillors over six months ago.
This means one of the council’s major departments will be operating on flight mode as no action or resolution can be passed without the approval of councillors.
According to the latest council report, councillors revealed that they had continuously complained over malfunctioning boreholes in their wards but nothing was being done to repair them.
“Councillor Earnest Rafamoyo was concerned about lack of repairs of non-functioning boreholes in ward 20. Having reported the boreholes six months ago, nothing had been done to date.
He therefore felt that Engineering Services department should prioritise such repairs as water was also used for community gardens’ livelihood purposes.
He suggested that no committee meeting should be commenced before the repairs were done.
“Clr Rodney Jele concurred and said that he reported non-functioning boreholes in ward 22, two months ago and no repairs had been done.
He further proposed that no Future Water Supplies Committee meeting should be called for before boreholes were repaired in all wards.
The committee therefore agreed that no meeting should be called before the repair of all such boreholes,” reads part of the report.
Out of a total of 338 boreholes in the city 43 are not functioning, with councillors claiming these have gone for years without being repaired.
When this resolution was tabled before a full council meeting last Wednesday fellow councillors supported the motion and further threatened that all councillors would follow suit.
They said they will boycott all council meetings as officials were dragging their feet in implementing resolutions.
“There are people paid to implement these resolutions but why are these resolutions not being implemented? Someone is clearly sleeping on duty.
We cannot be coming here, passing resolutions and nothing happens. Honestly I envisage that this will be spreading to other committees because it is the trend everywhere, council staffers are clearly sabotaging us.
“Something has to be done and such a step is commendable, maybe our staff members will realise that we mean business.
Some of the committees that are on the brink of striking include the Environmental management and Engineering services and Finance and Development committee because there is serious sabotage there,” said Clr Jele.
Ward one councillor, Clr Mlandu Ncube noted that residents were now accusing them of failing in their mandate when in actual fact it was council staffers who were not doing what they were being paid to do.
“This decision by the committee is pro-poor, pro-people and pro-development. Out in our wards we are being labelled failures because residents are not aware that we pass the necessary resolutions but someone in an office decides not to implement those resolutions.
“The committee has shown all of us that they mean business and this will eventually culminate in council not sitting at all because all these departments are not implementing resolutions which we pass,” said Clr Ncube.
Cowdray Park councillor, Collet Ndhlovu said it was unfortunate that council staffers were operating against development, noting that this was one of the reasons councillors were now taking such drastic measures.
“These are the same technocrats we are being told to take advice from. How do we work with them when they are clearly against developing the city?
This is the reason that we at times decide to go it alone because we are the only ones in this matrix who are serious about developing the city,” said Clr Ndhlovu.
The mayor, Clr Martin Moyo while neither supporting nor condemning the strike said what was important to note was that councillors’ duties included governing the city and pushing for service delivery.
“We are a local authority and one of our mandates is to govern the city. With this mandate we have to see to it that things are done properly and that everything is regularised,” said the mayor. The Chronicle