Defiant Bulawayo Council bills govt for stadium use on anti-sanctions day

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

THE defiant Bulawayo City Council has gone ahead to slap government with a $2053, 68 for using the iconic White City Stadium during an anti-sanctions rally last month.

This is after the city fathers resisted initial requests by authorities to use the facility for free.

This emerged in a report by council’s General Purposes Committee.

On October 11, Bulawayo Provincial Administrator, Khonzani Ncube wrote to the local authority requesting the use of the facility for the anti-sanctions rally.

“As you may be aware, SADC countries have declared October 25 as solidarity day against illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and resolved to conduct various activities on that day.

“It is against this background appeal for the White City Stadium as the venue for the event,” wrote Ncube in her letter to council.

The MDC dominated local authority turned down government’s request arguing that the event was not a national event.

“The matter was considered and Alderman Ernest Rafomoyo however felt that this was not a national event and proposed that the applicant should be given 90% discount to cover for water and electricity usage. Councillor Mlandu Ncube concurred,” reads part of the report.

The Bulawayo council has only allowed government to use the stadium free of charge during national events such as Independence, Heroes and Defence Forces Day celebrations.

The anti-sanctions march in the city was poorly attended with mainly college students and school children turning up.

It is however not the first time the city council has stood up to central government.

December last year, council refused to provide free fire-fighting services at the Zanu PF annual conference held at Esigodini, Matabeleland South demanding that the ruling party pays for the service.

This came after Zanu PF wrote to council requesting it to freely offer its fire tender to be on standby for the duration of the conference held from December 11 to 16, 2018 but the local authority wrote back saying it would only provide such free service for the few hours President Emmerson Mnangagwa was at the venue.