Auxilia Katongomara Chronicle Reporter
THE revival of Bulawayo industries hinges on the government awarding state tenders to ailing companies in the city, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko said yesterday. Speaking during a meeting with churches at the Bulawayo Large City Hall, VP Mphoko said the government must support local industries by buying from them.
“My message today is that let’s revive Bulawayo, asivuseni uBulawayo. The Bible says what’s impossible for men is possible for the Lord; there’s nothing impossible . . . nothing beats prayer.
“We’ve this company that makes blankets . . . National Blankets, if we want to revive Bulawayo we, as government, must support it by saying Mpilo hospital, prisons and all government departments should buy from it in order to support Zim-Asset,” said VP Mphoko.
He criticised the idea of awarding tenders to some individuals who instead used funds for projects to purchase luxury vehicles at the expense of institutions.
“For example, we award a tender to Sgodophenduka who before even going out of the country to purchase the goods buys a car because he has no sence of responsibility.
“Instead let’s give our ailing companies those tenders to support ZimAsset,” VP Mphoko said.
He also gave an example of Merlin which has since closed shop saying if government departments as well as hotels had been buying their towels from it, it would still be in existence.
“As Choppies, government told us that we were barred from importing perishables, we buy potatoes from the local people and it’s a good thing because these things are also found here. We’ve to protect our industry by protecting local products,” said VP Mphoko.
He took a swipe at the MDC-T run Bulawayo City Council which he described as failing the residents.
“Your problem is that lizintshaka (you are in disarray), you’re looking at a city as a party like MDC, Zanu-PF, why did you give the power station (Bulawayo thermal power station) to Zesa? Zesa wasn’t there when that power station was built, that’s why lingela magetsi (that’s why you don’t have electricity),” VP Mphoko said, much to the delight of the audience.
He challenged Bulawayo Mayor, Councillor Martin Moyo, to protect residents.
“Bulawayo is an old city, why must you allow Zinara, Zinwa to run things for you, stand up and refuse some of these things,” said VP Mphoko.
He called on the city fathers to revive Ingwebu Breweries which he said led to the development of most of the infrastructure in the city, dating back to the 1960s.
“I worked with Japhet Ndabeni Ncube, he was the best mayor for this city. Mayor be a Mayor for Bulawayo, Ingwebu siyayifuna (we want Ingwebu). Ingwebu led to the construction of many suburbs and roads in Bulawayo. It’s quite a big industry on its own,” said VP Mphoko.
He urged the local authority to desist from taking property and houses from the elderly who owe money for rates.
“It’s very painful for old women to lose property that they would’ve worked for for their entire life. I know there’s the legal and moral aspect which I feel must apply in such instances.”
He said he was saddened by the situation at Ekuphumuleni Old People’s Home where he went to donate goods late last year.
“Mrs Mahlangu told me that the institution is owing $72,000 in bills to Zesa , TelOne and BCC; Mr Mayor how do you make money out of people with no profit,” said VP Mphoko.
Turning to corruption which had been raised by a church leader, VP Mphoko said the people must not look up to the government to solve that problem for them but it is everyone’s duty to deal with the scourge.
“We mustn’t surrender our rights as tax-payers to anyone, it’s wrong , let’s challenge it”, he said.