Grave Prices Soar in Bulawayo

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC), which is in the process of crafting a budget for 2019 is proposing to increase fixed charges on water and sewer.

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The cost of graves is also set to double, should the proposed budget sail through.The council is trying to raise extra income to finance important infrastructure investment, particularly in water treatment and supply.

BCC had a special consultative meeting specifically targeted at young residents on Monday. The council is proposing a $212 million budget for next year.

If approved, residents residing in the low density suburbs will next year pay fixed sewer charges of $3 per month, up from $2.23, while those in townships will be paying $2 up from $1.26.

For water, residents in the low density areas would be paying $2 up from $1.04 while those in high density areas would be paying $1.50 up from $0.52.

Fees for a standard grave are also set to increase from $37 to $63 next year should the proposed budget sail through.

The youths who gathered at the Large City Hall for the consultative meeting, the first of its kind by the BCC targeted at them, challenged the local authority to provide youth friendly services in 2019, adding they would want 2018 priorities to be maintained next year.

The priorities in their order of importance are water, health, sewer, housing, roads, education, public lighting, social services as well as fire and ambulance.

Phineas Sibanda of Emakhandeni, 26, hailed the initiative by the BCC to consult them separately as young people.

“This is my first time to attend such a meeting. There are some things in which we have been left out as young people. Views of elderly people have been fed down on us and in most of the cases it would not be what we want. This tends to stifle development,” said Sibanda.

Another youth, Ishmael Banda of Njube, appealed to the local authority to remain open to more submissions from the youth before the budget is approved for it to be holistic and representative.

BCC Senior Public Relations Officer, Nesisa Mpofu, paid tribute to the youths for coming to the meeting, adding that they were important stakeholders in the city.

“You are a valuable part of society, which is why we decided to consult you and gather your views as well,” she said.

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