Rejoyce Sibanda and Tafadzwa Chibukwa, Chronicle Reporters
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) yesterday held crucial meetings with bus operators and political parties ahead of tomorrow’s deadline before the local authority launches an operation to curb illegal activities contributing to congestion, chaos and littering in the city.
In a bid to get political buy-in for the operation, council bosses met Zanu–PF, Zapu, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), and Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) representatives among others calling on political parties to help fight against the scourge of lawlessness in the city.
Council has previously met vendors and will meet the business community tomorrow.
The operation is also targeting other unauthorised activities in the city such as trading, washing and the repair of vehicles on the streets.
During a meeting with bus operators, the director of Town Planning Mr Wisdom Siziba said the purpose of removing the illegal bus operators is to decongest the city and bring back Bulawayo’s glory.
Daily, crews of buses that include CAG, Joma, Inter Africa, and Farwest park their buses along Leopold Takawira Extension opposite Centenary Park touting for passengers violating the city’s by-laws.
This has attracted vendors who sell and leave a lot of litter around Central and Centenary Parks.
“We want to clean and decongest the city so that people can enjoy being in it. We also want to improve the pride and aesthetic of Bulawayo.
“As council, we have not only focused on illegal bus operators but extended the meeting to huge truck operators in the city that transport goods from one place to the other,” said Mr Siziba.
He said people are supposed to go to Centenary Park for leisure but the facility has been turned into a rank, toilet, and has been heavily littered.
Stakeholders follow procedings during the City of Bulawayo consultative meeting with Bus operators at Tower block yesterday…
Mr Siziba said there is a lot of chaos happening along Harare Road, Fife Street and near the Bulawayo Theatre going to Bulawayo Museum where bus crews will be touting for passengers.
He said illegal bus operators operate in places without ablution facilities and their conduct could result in the outbreak of diseases.
“In the aspect of big trucks that are over nine tonnes, we do not expect them to travel through the city on any road. This is because some of the roads in the city were not designed for these trucks. We do not want the huge trucks in residential areas,” said Mr Siziba.
The director of town planning said there are designated truck routes which include Masotsha Ndlovu Avenue, and Lady Stanley Avenue among others.
Mr Siziba encouraged bus operators to use the designated ranks and abide by bus routes so that there is complete order in the city.
The director of Health Services, Dr Edwin Sibanda, who also attended the meeting, encouraged members of the public to desist from littering to keep the city clean.
“The order we are pushing for the city is that there be designated points for picking up and dropping off passengers which will allow our teams to know where to pick litter and to know how frequently to pick that litter. Passengers should also not throw litter anywhere and anyhow,” said Dr Sibanda.
In a separate meeting with political parties, Bulawayo town clerk Mr Christopher Dube said the city has designated informal trading sites in the city centre and suburban areas.
Mr Christopher Dube
“All those who are interested in trading in the authorised sites are advised to visit the City of Bulawayo Vending Offices at the former Dugmore Clinic Offices along Basch Street for registration and licensing. The city encourages trading at designated sites in terms of the Municipal by Laws. This fosters peace, cleanliness and control of all informal trading activities through the associations which have memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with the city,” said Mr Dube.
Zanu-PF Provincial Secretary for Administration, Cde Raymond Mtomba said the city has lost its glory.
“Our city has fallen from its glory and can no longer be identified as the city it used to be years back, which is not what we are used to. We, therefore, need to put our heads together and come up with a solution to the challenge of uncleanliness that we are facing on a day to day basis,” he said.
“The maintenance of the cleanliness of our city does not fall only on the responsible hands of the council alone but it falls on us all as residents. As such, we should uphold the responsibility as political parties who have an impact on the residents in the community to run cleanliness awareness campaigns in order to address the problem we have.”
CCC Pumula MP Mrs Sichelesile Mahlangu said:
“There should be means of introducing vending bays at their (vendors) residential places so that they can operate from there. This will also help give them places of operation which are not illegal instead of them being displaced time and again,” she said.