SOUTH Africa’s eThekwini Municipality mayor James Nxumalo has pledged to assist Bulawayo revive its crumbling industrial zone saying the city has vast potential for growth.
Speaking at a reception in Bulawayo on Monday, Nxumalo said the city’s installed infrastructure had capacity for growth, but lacked a stimulus package.
“We want to lead a business delegation next year so that we can explore business opportunities,” he said.
“You have a beautiful city and through our partnership we can assist where we can. The only thing we can do is to stimulate the economy so that investors can come and by so doing you will be in a position to create jobs and address social problem.”
The South African municipality, which includes Durban and surrounding areas, has in the past worked with Bulawayo in various water and sanitation projects under the Bulawayo Water and Sanitation Emergency Response project.
Bulawayo and eThekwini mayors signed a statement of intent in 2002 in which they pledged to assist each other through technical exchange programmes.
Nxumalo said he had invited Bulawayo female councillors to Durban to share experiences and best governance practices with their counterparts.
He said it was key for the twinning arrangement to bear fruits, adding that his “municipal technocrats will start working on that aspect as a matter of urgency, as the agreements must bear fruit and not say it was just a mere cooperation”.
“We are convinced that we can learn and support each other because our challenges are the same. We have challenges of unemployment, poverty, inequalities and backlog on infrastructure,” he added.
Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo said the city had sufficient infrastructure to revive its fortunes, but the prevailing harsh economic climate was a stumbling block.
Meanwhile, during a similar visit last year, the local authority spent more than $20 000 on 12 eThekwini municipality executives who were on a weeklong tour.
About $1 900 was set aside for gifts.