Bulawayo Councillors Reject July Moyo’s Fire Tenders
The Bulawayo City Council has rejected local government minister July Moyo’s plan to divert devolution funds to acquire fire tenders from Belarus.
In June, Moyo advised local authorities that they will receive fire tenders procured from the East European country in a “government-to-government” agreement.
In a letter to town clerks, secretaries and CEOs dated 20 June 2022, Moyo said each “rural local authority” would get one fire engine while “urban local authorities” would get two and “metropolitan local authorities” are in line to get three each.
It has, however, emerged that the fire tenders are hugely overpriced at US$464,296 each.
The City of Bulawayo says fire tenders are not a priority as it urgently needs refuse collection trucks.
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Addressing a full council meeting on Wednesday, deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube said:
Our fire tenders and ambulances are not bad and we still have fire tenders and ambulances.
Where we have a problem is vehicles for road maintenance, vehicles to attend to sewage bursts, grave digging and refuse collection.
We were shocked to hear that some are directing that we have to purchase fire tenders.
As a city, we have a big problem with service delivery trucks and what will it help buying fire tenders when they won’t be able to traffic our roads due to their poor state?
Refuse will be all over the place making it hard for our fire trucks to travel to attend to fires.
The talk for us to buy three fire tenders must end on social media and not come here.
Ncube, who is the Ward 1 Councillor, said residents said they want refuse to be collected on time, graders, tippers and water bowsers.
Edwin Ndlovu, a councillor in Makokoba, condemned Moyo for dictating how the city uses its devolution allocation. He said:
The central government must not budget for us and spell out how we use our money. The move defeats the whole purpose of devolution.
If there is a need for fire tenders, it’s us as a council who must prioritise it and when a need arises for us to request government to assist us by sourcing cheap fire tenders it must be us as a council approaching the central government and not the other way round.
We don’t want another Pomona in Bulawayo. It’s we who must look for tenders and if what government is providing is the cheapest, then we will go for it provided it is our priority.
Councillor Ernest Rafa Moyo said councillors recently toured the city’s fire brigade department and were satisfied with the condition of the fire tenders.
July Moyo recently directed Harare City Council not to pull out of a US$320 million waste-to-energy with a company registered in the Netherlands, but with no history of undertaking similar projects.
The company, Geogenix BV is owned by Klodian Mertiri, an Albanian businessman who allegedly has links to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s twin son, Sean.