Shortage of builders hinders council progress

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BULAWAYO City Council’s construction of early child development (ECD) blocks at its schools is in limbo amid revelations the local authority is facing serious shortages of builders.

PRIVILEGE SHOKO
OWN CORRESPONDENT

The Primary and Secondary Education ministry issued a directive that ECD classroom blocks be constructed in all primary schools.

According to council minutes, school development committees (SDC) always contributed towards the development of schools and pre-schools by providing materials and building structures for use in respective areas.

“The work of SDC at council schools should be appreciated and be assisted accordingly,” councillor Siboniso Khumalo said.

“A school in my ward (Ward 27) purchased all building materials to construct a block of classrooms, but construction had not started because of shortage of builders.

“We do not know if the SDC should hire their own builders and pay them.”

The assistant director of Housing and Community Services, McKenzie Moyo, said the local authority was facing serious staff shortages.

“Serious staff shortages have adversely affected the job request and the central government freeze on recruitment has made it worse,” he said.

“At the present moment the building section has only four builders and they are being assisted by students on attachment from various tertiary institutions.”

Moyo said students needed supervision and there were no adequate vehicles to assist in such service delivery.

Acting town clerk Sikhangele Zhou said presently, it was difficult for the local authority to recruit builders.

“There are no funds for construction and council will only recruit builders once there is funding for construction,” she said.

“The parent ministry requested that the local authority should reduce wage costs from 59% of revenue to 30%.”