Bulawayo councillors say PR officer jumped the gun
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.