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Panicky Councillors lobby Govt for devolution funds to address water woes

Panic-stricken Bulawayo Councillors have lobbied the government to advance them their allocation of next year`s devolution funds so that they can attend to the water crisis bedevilling the city.

The city is currently experiencing a 72-hour water-shedding program as water levels continue to decline at the city’s supply dams.

The city fathers are worried that the dams are running dry and the situation will become dire if the rains do not fall in the next few weeks.

The remaining five dams are currently at 37 percent with Umzingwane Dam likely to be decommissioned this month if it does not receive significant inflows.

Speaking during a full council meeting, Wednesday, Ward 1 Councillor Mlandu Ncube said there was a need to engage the government so that they can release devolution funds for the authority to utilise in finding sustainable solutions to the water crisis.

“Let us find a solution now and engage Minister Of finance (Mthuli Ncube) and Minister of State (Judith Ncube), we have devolution funds which they promised us, they should just give us those funds so that we can contract bowsers and repair boreholes because water is a critical issue,” said Cllr Ncube.

“Even if we are going to get the funds and rehabilitate roads, who will use those roads, even if we build schools and clinics who will use those facilities when people are going to perish due to cholera,” he added.

He said there is a need to engage the government so that they can release the funds.

“Let us engage the government to give us the funds to alleviate the water crisis,” he said.

“If we have a city disaster we are not supposed to fold our hands, we have to be knocking everywhere, people owe us,  the constitution was passed in 2013 and the devolution funds were not supposed to be released this year only, there are other years where they did not release those funds so they should give us those funds because residents of Bulawayo pay tax, we have to save lives.”

Ward 19 Councillor, Alderman Clayton Zana said there was a need for the local authority to be transparent to residents and tell them the truth concerning the water situation.

“Let us avoid a situation where residents come to us at last minute asking about the water situation, of late what is spoken about is Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) being the main cause of the water crisis,” said Cllr Zana.

“Let us talk more about a shortage of water instead of ZESA faults, let us change the approach and let residents know that there is no water in Bulawayo.

“We should prioritize on the issue of urging residents to conserve water and let us put more effort into finding solutions to the water crisis,” he said. 

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