THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has turned down a request by war veterans to provide grave digging services at the provincial heroes acre for free, arguing the city has more deserving cases like destitute people, widows and orphans.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
In a letter to the local authority requesting the assistance, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) said the Local Government ministry was failing to provide the services.
Latest council minutes showed that after the matter was debated, city fathers resolved to turn down the request, and instead referred the ZNLWVA to the Department of National Museums and Monuments for assistance.
City fathers cited the council’s cash-flow situation, arguing digging up graves for free came at a cost to ratepayers.
“In order to fulfil this request, council would incur cost in the following manner: (1) transportation of diggers using low bed $400, (2) production of 20 graves at $23 per grave $460, in total $860. Council cash flow situation was not good.
“It was, therefore, resolved to recommend that the request by the ZNLWVA be not acceded to and instead the association be advised to refer the matter to the Department of National Museums and Monuments, who may then approach council for assistance on their behalf,” the minutes read in part.
City fathers also said the ZNLWVA must approach the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services for free labour from serving inmates.
“ZNLWVA is requesting your good office to assist in the digging of graves at the provincial heroes acre. We are facing challenges at this site to provide graves to our deceased comrades. The Public Works ministry has a duty of providing materials, digging of graves, but is unable to provide this service citing lack of funding.
“Currently, relatives of war veterans association are taking the toll duty (sic) of providing this service with no assistance from anywhere, hence, our resort to ask for assistance from your office. It was also suggested that in future the ZNLWVA approaches prisons for the labour to produce graves at the shrine,” the minutes added.