Vusumuzi Dube, Online News Editor
SOME people do not die. They depart silently to the world yonder and people will always see them in the good works that they would have done during their lifetime.
This is true for Engineer Simela Dube who was the Director of Engineering Services for Bulawayo City Council.
He was described as a dedicated council employee who was always available and willing to offer his services even when people never seemed to appreciate him.
Bulawayo Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni said Eng Dube died a sad man who was never appreciated for the sacrifices he made for the city.
Clr Mguni described Eng Dube as a resourceful, well-polished and intelligent individual.
He said without the late director’s dedicated service to the city, Bulawayo could have been worse off in terms of service delivery.
“While to some, who were not so close to him, he could have been a bit arrogant and assertive, the fact of the matter is that he knew his job and was admired by many, not only in Bulawayo but different cities and municipalities under the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe, where he was serving as Chairman of the Engineers/Technical Forum for many years until his time of death.
“He was a hunted man by sister urban local authorities, including Harare and they were offering him better packages than Bulawayo.
“He was to me, an improviser who didn’t stop working because there was no money or that council wasn’t collecting enough from ratepayers,” said Clr Mguni.
The mayor said it was unfortunate that during most of his tenure at the helm of the engineering services, he was constantly being a target of lobby groups and residents’ associations who continued to make unsubstantiated allegations against him, allegations that were all proven to be misplaced by numerous commissions of enquiry that were appointed by the Government.
“He (Eng Dube) died a sad man, because despite giving it all to serve his city, including leaving a lucrative job in South Africa as project manager for the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), he was never appreciated by the people he was serving.
“I say this authoritatively, because when I was sworn in and when I took office, some residents groups were calling in, writing letters and putting pressure that I should deal with alleged pending cases of Eng Simela Dube, I later found out had either been dealt with by previous council or prosecution had been declined for lack of evidence before courts of law,” said the mayor.
Clr Mguni revealed that at one point he had to intervene and beg Eng Dube not to resign as he continued being a target of various groupings, including some councillors.
“He had his own moments with other councillors who felt he wasn’t doing his best to salvage the situation. There was a volatile situation in council and within the main political party in council when councillors had formed themselves into groups of friends.
“I was equally targeted, and so were top managers including the town clerk (Mr Christopher Dube), that was in 2019, and he (Eng Dube) wanted out. I begged him to stay and so he did and the rest is history,” said the mayor.
On the service delivery front, Clr Mguni revealed that the late Eng Dube was a great advisor to committees to which he reported, very frank and straight forward to an extent that other councillors did not appreciate him being given the floor before they debate and exhaust a contentious item.
“The most important highlight of his tenure was his successful implementation of the African Development Bank funded Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP), which saw a complete rehabilitation of water and waste water infrastructure, including the installation of new pumps at Ncema, Fernhill and Criterion, which pumps were last done in 1976.
“In 2016, he came up with a road condition survey that would inform the city on the state of roads, which roads were to be prioritised and which roads were to be downgraded to gravel and how much it would cost to rehabilitate the main trunk roads and feeder roads in view of the financial challenges that the city was facing,” said Clr Mguni.
The mayor said, it was through Eng Dube’s astute leadership that had seen Bulawayo being the only city with a water and waste water master plan.
“The level of service delivery in Bulawayo, which under the prevailing circumstances, is second to none of our sister urban local authorities is credited to Eng Dube’s astute leadership of the Engineering Services Department.
“His shoes will be difficult to fill, and we can only hope that his peers and subordinates learnt something from his many years of selfless service to the city.
“We will miss him, may his soul rest in perfect peace,” said Clr Mguni. Engineer Dube was 56 years old.