BULAWAYO COUNCIL CHAMBERS - In a lengthy debate at their recent Full Council meeting, Bulawayo councillors discussed the perennial problem of street lighting across Zimbabwe’s second largest city.
Stimulated by the ZDDT Zone Meetings which bring Councillors and their constituents together to discuss service delivery, a lively debate ensued.
Speaking during the milestone meeting, in which all the 27 sitting councillors were in attendance, Councillor Charles Moyo, Ward 9, said he had reported last year that tower lights Number 229 and Number 230 in Matshobana were dysfunctional, but Council had not attended to the issue.
He said the excuse he was given was that Council was migrating to LED lights.
Councillor Tabitha Ngwenya, Ward 6, weighed in and called for the Council to act swiftly on the matter adding that, in some areas, it had become risky to travel at night amid rising crime levels.
She challenged the responsible council committee to visit parts of her ward at night in order to gain an appreciation of what councillors were talking about.
Councillor Monica Lubimbi, Ward 29, urged fellow councillors to be patient while Council attended to the matter.
However, Councillor Lilian Mlilo, Ward 12, said she was told some time last year that the globes for tower lights would be bought in two weeks’ time in South Africa but nothing had been done to date in her ward.
As a solution, Councillor Norman Hlabano, Ward 26, suggested that the Finance Committee sits together with the Engineering Services and General Purposes committees in a meeting chaired by the mayor and town clerk, and chat the way forward on the matter, arguing that, in the absence of finances, nothing could ever move.
But Councillor Tamani Moyo, Ward 15, challenged fellow councillors to be reasonable on the matter, explaining that there were some tower lights which had not been working for 10 years which had since been fixed.She urged those councillors whose wards were yet to have their lighting restored, to be patient, adding they would soon be attended to.
However, Councillor Clyton Zana, Ward 19, said Council should move with speed in releasing the Three Percent Retention Fund for the wards to enable them to attend to the issue of tower lights.
Councillor Siboniso Khumalo, Ward 27, on the other hand, said the Council should come up with a clear programme on the fixing of tower lights instead of always promising to attend to different wards which seem to take a long time to materialise.
Sealing the matter, Councillor Mlandu Ncube, Ward 1, said the Engineering Services Committee was overwhelmed with issues of service delivery, which is placing a lot of pressure on the members.
He added, according residents’ priority list under service delivery, street lighting was at the bottom, which explained the non-prioritisation.