Council turns down residents’ proposal

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bulawayo city council

BULAWAYO City Council has turned down a request from the Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (Bpra) to carry out water management and accountability research at council premises aimed at improving water accessibility and quality.

Chief Reporter

Council objected to the request arguing that Bpra was a pressure group and not an institute of higher learning or a student body, which normally required such information for academic research purposes.

Bpra had sought audience with the director of engineering services, Simela Dube.

In its application to council dated December 16 2014, the organisation said: “Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association is currently running a water management and accountability project in Bulawayo aimed at improving water accessibility and quality and ensuring participation of residents in critical discussions around water policy.

“The research seeks to identify best practices for the development and utilisation of Zimbabwe’s water resources.

“It is hoped that the research shall help in eradicating some impediments militating against access to water and participation in its management by ordinary members of the community.”

Bpra said it had enlisted the services of a research consultant, Mandlenkosi Maphosa to conduct the research.

Council, in response, said it had acceded to similar requests before from institutes of higher learning and students on the understanding that the applicants would submit a copy of their findings and indemnify the local authority from any accidents, which might occur during the research exercise.

“It was noted that the applicant in this case was a pressure group rather than an institute of higher learning or a student body, which normally required such information for academic research purposes,” the municipality said.

“It was, therefore, considered inappropriate to grant this group permission for research in this instance.”

Relations between the two organisations have been frosty of late, particularly over plans by the local authority to introduce prepaid water meters.

Recently, Bpra organised a demonstration against the buy-to-use water gadgets, condemning them as an infringement on people’s rights.

Bpra wants council to rescind the decision to introduce the gadgets, though the later has vowed to go ahead.

Council officials are now boycotting meetings organised by Bpra.