Bu­l­awayo coun­cil­lors say PR of­fi­cer jumped the gun

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Vusumuzi Dube

BU­L­AWAYO coun­cil­lors have re­jected a re­vised 72-hour wa­ter shed­ding sched­ule which was an­nounced on Mon­day, say­ing coun­cil man­age­ment im­ple­mented it with­out their input.

Their re­pu­di­a­tion of the sched­ule came as the wa­ter cri­sis in Bu­l­awayo wors­ened amid rev­e­la­tions that the city is fail­ing to pump from Mt­shabezi Dam. A num­ber of fac­tors in­clu­sive of pipe bursts and elec­tri­cal faults are pre­vent­ing coun­cil from util­is­ing wa­ter from the dam.

This leaves the city de­pend­ing on three dams — In­siza, Mt­shabezi and Inyankuni — out of six fol­low­ing de­com­mis­sion­ing of Up­per Ncema and Umz­ing­wane dams.

The city needs about 135 me­gal­itres a day but is get­ting an av­er­age of 90 me­gal­itres per day from the re­main­ing three dams.

Coun­cil­lors added to the con­fu­sion af­ter they re­jected the re­cent changes in the wa­ter shed­ding sched­ule from 48 hours to 72 hours, claim­ing they were not con­sulted when the de­ci­sion was reached.

They re­port­edly sum­moned the city’s Town Clerk, Mr Christo­pher Dube, and di­rec­tor of En­gi­neer­ing Ser­vices, En­gi­neer Simela Dube, to a cau­cus at which they blasted the city’s se­nior pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer, Mrs Ne­sisa Mpofu, for jump­ing the gun and an­nounc­ing the 72-hour shed­ding sched­ule with­out fol­low­ing pro­ce­dure.

Any coun­cil de­ci­sion has to pass through full coun­cil and be backed by a res­o­lu­tion be­fore it is made pub­lic.

How­ever, in an in­ter­view last night the Mayor, Coun­cil­lor Martin Moyo, while con­firm­ing the coun­cil­lors’ dis­gruntle­ment, said there was a need for every­one to ap­pre­ci­ate that the city was in a cri­sis.

He said it was now clear that they were fail­ing to ad­here to any sched­ule be­cause they were fail­ing to fill any of their reser­voirs.

“The truth is we are in a cri­sis, we are not even shed­ding for 48 hours or 72 hours, this shed­ding is not con­trolled be­cause we are fail­ing to reach our ca­pac­ity.

“Peo­ple have to be un­der­stand­ing and pa­tient with us be­cause it is a se­ri­ous cri­sis. As it is we are not pump­ing any­thing from Mt­shabezi Dam be­cause of a num­ber of prob­lems be­ing faced along the pipe­line. These in­clude elec­tri­cal prob­lems and even pipe bursts,” said the mayor.

“To put it into con­text, we are sup­posed to be get­ting 16 me­gal­itres from Mt­shabezi and 21 me­gal­itres from Umz­ing­wane, this giv­ing us a to­tal of 37 me­gal­itres but due to all these prob­lems we are not get­ting any­thing at all. That is how dire the sit­u­a­tion is.”

Well-placed sources re­vealed that coun­cil­lors put coun­cil man­age­ment to task dur­ing the cau­cus meet­ing ac­cus­ing them of mak­ing uni­lat­eral de­ci­sions.

“The feel­ing was Mrs Mpofu jumped the gun by is­su­ing a state­ment with­out a coun­cil res­o­lu­tion to back it. Coun­cil­lors felt that man­age­ment ex­posed them to res­i­dents’ scru­tiny as they were even fail­ing to ad­here to the 72-hour shed­ding sched­ule.

“It was there­fore agreed that a spe­cial coun­cil meet­ing be con­vened next week, where a clear sched­ule will be crafted and pre­sented to res­i­dents,” said the source. — @ vu­sadb.

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