Mandara residents met with their representatives last week to find lasting solutions to a range of service delivery issues in the suburb.
Diana Nherera Suburban Reporter
The meeting held on Thursday last week discussed the state of roads in the suburb, water problems, dangerous driving on roads without speed humps and the failure to observe road regulations as haulage trucks use suburban roads among other issues.
Community leader Dr Brian Shenje went through the issues residents are facing such as haulage trucks plying Pringle Road.
He said residents want speed humps built on Wallis Road where frequent accidents are taking place.
“We have some raceways on Wallis Road.
“Wallis Road is relatively straight, it’s got some nice descends and nice inclines.
“We literally have race cars coming to practice on that road.
“The roads guys came and did their survey and agreed that there’s need for traffic control and that was the end of it.
“We have serious accidents. The last one was two weeks ago on a particular curve.
“So we do ask that we get those humps up as soon as possible and the other end because at night people don’t know where the road ends, it goes to a T-junction,” said Dr Shenje.
He said Beeston Road is a through road that goes into ED Mnangagwa Road.
“So people come from Harare Drive to avoid the intersection that I talked about without traffic lights and to avoid humps, they come through Mandara on the raceway down Beeston Road.
“Unfortunately for Beeston, there are no pathways for people to walk on. It’s actually more dangerous than Wallis.
“Wallis is a busy road. Our community is engaged in jogging, walking and all the rest of it and it’s quite an urgent matter in our view,” said Dr Shenje.
Ward 18 Councillor and Harare Mayor Ian Makone said he and the Member of Parliament for the area Mr Allan Markham will do what they can to address the issues raised by residents
“The negativity (among council workers) that Brian raised is an issue as a new council and new mayor, I am going to be seized with to ensure that council becomes more responsive to issues raised by residents and to do so on time,” he said.
Cllr Makone apologised for the water problems in Mandara due to blockages of water pipes and advised residents to phone him if they are not repaired soon after the meeting.
He said there was a mistaken notion that low-density areas are better able to take care of themselves on the issue of water.
“When I took over in Ward 18, I demanded that we should have our reasonable share of the available water and should be predictable so that those that have got receptacles can store some of it.
“If it hasn’t been happening here with regularity, I think it’s something that we should work towards as councillor for this area.
“Let’s discuss those issues until such a time that we’ve got a predictable timetable,” said Cllr Makone.
He said sometimes the water problems are a result of electricity outages.
“And these have flown off to affect residents. For the first time, we’ve said let’s communicate where Zesa or for any other reason an interruption in scheduled water delivery. Residents need to know in good time so they can make alternatives,” said Cllr Makone.
He said the city will try to ensure regular supply of water.
“Where you have water blockages, I would like to assure you that we will do everything we can to ensure that identified areas or blind spots are attended to,” said Cllr Makone.
He said the Constitution talks of devolution which means that decisions must be made at the closest possible level to residents.
“And in terms of that Constitutional requirement, which has unfortunately not been aligned with the Urban Councils Act, we want to decentralise.
“Some of you the older ones know that we used to have zones and districts and that was during Honourable Markham’s time as councillor and that was the correct way to go.
“And for some strange reason, we rolled back that decentralised management system and stiff controls at the centre where the assumption that your director of Harare Water would have answers at their fingertips. It doesn’t work like that where people like Mrs Mukwedeya (the district officer were more empowered because they are closer to residents.
“And where they are not able to provide solutions, in the area of water, roads, sewage, waste removal, then they can refer to departments which have got those skills.
“And the process of decentralisation is involving them in spending a fair amount of time with the director of housing who is in charge of all district offices to ensure we don’t throw them at the deep end without the necessary skills,” said Cllr Makone.
He said district officers should also be able to attend to refuse collection issues for the suburbs under her office.
“She (Mrs Mukwedeya) should know the (refuse collection) schedules that affect Mandara. She should know about the schedules to do with the distribution of water into this area.
“Where there is an interruption, she will be the first person to know that we are going to have an interruption in the supply of vital services into our area and advise.
“So that is what we are hoping sincerely would enable us to work closely with residents and where we have got immediate solutions ourselves.”
On non-payment of council bills, Cllr Makone said the city is a chicken and egg situation.
“We could find a way of breaking out of that vicious cycle of non-payment or no service, so that’s where we are,” he said.
Cllr Makone said the city has started a transformative process starting off with the councillors’ attitude to residents’ needs to change in terms of being servants of ratepayers.
“The same has to cascade to the senior management especially district offices.
“We are determined that the attitude to work is going to change.
“And it is my sincere hope that we can, at some stage over the next six or so months begin to get some feedback from residents that the relationship between council and residents is taking a turn for the better,” he said.
Cllr Makone urged residents to channel specific issues about their neighbourhoods through the district officers.