By Mbekezeli Ncube
THE BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has revealed that restoring vandalised street lights and tower lights is a thorn in the flesh for the local authority as the council is facing economic challenges.
BBC public relations officer, Nesisa Mpofu was responding to NewZimbabwe.com after the publication gathered that only a few tower lights in the western high-density suburbs of the city are functioning.
Residents are appealing to the city fathers to act on the matter as they are convinced that this is the main cause of numerous house break-ins, car tyres and car battery thefts.
A lot of people have also been ambushed and robbed of their valuables in the evening on their way home from work.
Mpofu said the municipality was finding it difficult in buying and replacing the stolen cables as they lack funding.
“Over the past few months there has been an increase in vandalism of municipal infrastructure such as street lights, tower lights and water valves,” she said.
“It is extremely difficult to procure enough cables to effect comprehensive replacement for stolen cables. Bulawayo City Council has been using the three percent ward retention to repair those lights that require only lamps but these funds are no longer able to make much difference due to the economic challenges.
“Most tower lights are being vandalised, with thieves ripping off armoured cables that supply power to the tower lights. Armoured cables are expensive and with the current economic situation.”
Areas such as Cowdray Park, Luveve, Gwabalanda and Lobengula are in ‘dark city’ mode at night and they are one of the most affected places when it comes to robberies.
Mpofu, however, said the local authority is doing all it can to make ends meet and fix the problem.
“The City of Bulawayo is aware of the affected areas city wide and we are in constant communication with the elected residents’ representatives on problems affecting each ward. Where it is possible, we have tried to get the tower lights on again but the task at hand is a mammoth one as funding is a serious constraint,” she said.
She also advised locals to shy away from destroying municipal infrastructure.
“We appeal to residents to desist from vandalising municipal infrastructure as it affects the entire community and retards municipal service delivery.
“It further forces the council to carry out additional unbudgeted repairs on vandalised infrastructure. When water valves are vandalised, restoration of water to affected suburbs is disturbed, increasing the number of days that residents go without water,” said Mpofu.