By Bulawayo Correspondent
BULAWAYO residents have sought the intervention of Local Government Minister July Moyo in the city’s raging mayoral mansion saga.
According to a recent council confidential report, the MDC-T dominated Bulawayo City Council recommended the cash-strapped local authority should build its mayor Solomon Mguni a $25 million unbudgeted mayoral house in Selbourne Park.
The mayor currently stays in Nkulumane, a high-density suburb.
However, the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) this week wrote to Moyo expressing reservations on the project.
“BPRA is concerned by the level of negligence by BCC to consider a cost-benefit analysis as they have resolved to construct a new mansion instead of renovating an earlier identified house in Burnside whose cost would be at least 50% less than the new project,” wrote BPRA coordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu in his letter to the minister.
The city fathers had proposed to renovate one of the council‘s properties at Hornung Golf Club in Burnside and allocate it to the mayor while the other option was to buy him an upmarket property.
Ndlovu said the residents were never consulted over the project.
“Residents are also worried because the mansion was not mentioned in the 2021 budget. The decision by the local authority to divert funds from other accounts is a bad financial practice and is against tenants of good corporate governance. It gives room for abuse of funds by public institutions,” said Ndlovu.
The residents also questioned the timing of the project.
“Bulawayo is characterised with burst sewer, pothole-ridden roads, piling refuse in street corners, non-functional street lights, unfinished housing projects and a dissatisfied staff due to delayed and pending salary arrears.”
The move to build the mayoral mansion has come when the local authority is planning to build at least 50 houses for senior managers in leafy suburbs at a cost of US$ 100 00 each.
The MDC Alliance has distanced itself from the proposed projects.
“The MDC Alliance dissociates itself from Bulawayo City Council’s housing committee’s unwritten proposal to build at least 50 leafy suburb houses for managers at a cost of US$100 000 each and to pay their telephone, water, and electricity bills,” said MDC Alliance Bulawayo spokesperson Swithern Chirowodza while addressing a press conference in Bulawayo Monday.