A shadowy group of Bulawayo residents under the banner of “Abandoned Residents-Luveve-Cowdray Park” has appealed to Local Government, Public Works and National Housing minister Ignatius Chombo to fire all councillors over recent changes to the city’s transport policy.
BY NQOBILE BHEBHE
In a letter to council copied to Chombo, the residents accused councillors of failing to inform them residents on key issues affecting the community.
They cited the new transport policy, which compelled operators to register with the local authority or be banned.
“We, the residents of Bulawayo, particularly Luveve and Cowdray Park, do hereby request you to dissolve Bulawayo City Council for not putting us into its confidence. The transport draft was adopted against our wishes,” the letter dated March 30 read.
“It separated the two organisation’s routine, namely Tshova Mubaiwa and Bulawayo United Passenger Transport Association (Bupta) (sic).”
The letter said council action had forced Tshova Mubaiwa to abandon the Cowdray Park and Luveve routes.
“After a thorough study we realised that the draft was biased and was in favour of Bupta, the company whose directors are from council officials,” the group alleged.
“The sad story is that even our councillors whom we chose seem reluctant to help us. We are passing a vote of no confidence against the council and, therefore, pray for dissolution of the entire council! Enough is enough.”
However, engineering services director Simela Dube said extensive consultations were carried out.
“Needless to say, this process culminated in the crafting of the public transport policy,” he was quoted saying in the council minutes.
“As part of the implementation of the policy, two companies have been formed and these companies sat down and identified, in agreement with each other, areas that they want us to serve and operate in.
“The division of the city is not rigid, but should companies want to change the boundaries they are free to do so.”
Council’s transport policy compels on commuter omnibus owners to be affiliated to Tshova Mubaiwa Transport Company and Bupta, or any other company approved by the local authority.
The new measures followed the signing of a public transport policy agreement between council and public transporters in 2012.
Bupta will service the area east of Plumtree Road, covering all low and medium-density suburbs as well as western areas from Richmond and Cowdray Park to Khami Road.
Tshova Mubaiwa has been allocated the area between Plumtree Road and Khami Road.
The City Hall has been designated as its new pick up points.