Bulawayo residents rally against demolition of cooling towers
By Staff reporter | 11 Jul 2019 at 20:47hrs
THE uproar by Bulawayo residents over the demolition of the iconic cooling towers at the thermal power station is justified as the community feels they have been repeatedly shortchanged, analysts have said.
In separate interviews, analysts told the Daily News yesterday that the issue of ownership of the power station should be addressed prior to the debate on their demolition, noting that the Zesa Holdings (Zesa) owes the Bulawayo City Council (BCC).
Last week, Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni and his delegation walked out of a stakeholder consultative meeting between government and Zesa officials, protesting against lack of consultation over demolition of the towers. Debate has since ensued on social media platforms with residents in the second capital city arguing the towers hold a monumental value to the city and Zesa should consider preserving them as they are a significant historic image of Bulawayo.
Analyst Angelstone Sibanda yesterday told Daily News that a balance should be struck between the desire to provide energy and respecting the people of Bulawayo. "The people are justified, they own the property. Zesa has indeed taken the people of Bulawayo for granted.
"Why should they invest so much on those towers instead of looking for separate land to install a solar plant?" said Sibanda.
"The people of Bulawayo have been shortchanged in so many instances and their mistrust is justified."
Another analyst Dumisani Nkomo said the power utility erred by failing to consult Bulawayo residents and the local authority before making the decision to demolish the iconic towers. "The decision was made willy-nilly without proper consultation. "There is historic value attached to those iconic towers. They could be converted into a tourist attraction like what has happened in South Africa.
"The decision to demolish the towers is evidence of a failure by authorities to respect the history of the people," he said.