BULAWAYO’S newly elected Deputy Mayor councillor Mlandu Ncube believes his passion for service delivery has seen him rising from being a merchandiser at a local supermarket to the top council post.
Cllr Ncube (32), who is Ward One councillor, is serving his second term as a councillor.
He was first elected councillor in 2013 and managed to retain the seat in 2018 under the MDC-Alliance.
Recently, the Dr Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T recalled eight Bulawayo councillors it said were no longer representing its interests including the former Deputy Mayor Mr Tinashe Kambarami.
Mr Kambarami’s election as councillor was declared null and void by the High Court because he had a previous conviction but had appealed to the Supreme Court when he was recalled.
The 1893 Mthwakazi Restoration Movement successfully challenged the election of Mr Kambarami at the High Court.
Mr Kambarami appealed to the Supreme Court which then reserved judgment and while waiting fo the judgment, he was recalled by MDC-T leaving the Deputy Mayor’s post vacant.
Council then declared the post vacant paving the way for the election of Cllr Ncube as the new Deputy Mayor last Wednesday.
Cllr Ncube holds a diploma in Development Studies and is studying a local governance course at Domboshava Training School.
He left his job at the local supermarket to focus on farming when he was re-elected in 2018.
The deputy mayor is leasing a plot in Rangemore where he has a horticulture projects.
He said focusing on farming allows him to dedicate more time to his council duties as opposed to his days as an employee.
Cllr Ncube said he was aware that it is not a stroll in the park to lead Bulawayo given its many challenges which include the prevailing water crisis.
Prior to his appointment as the city’s Deputy Mayor, Cllr Ncube was the Finance and Development committee chairperson.
Cllr Ncube said life has not been easy occupying public office at such a young age.
“When I was elected for the first time in 2013, I was aged 25, employed as a merchandiser at a local supermarket. I had been working for the same supermarket since 2009. However, I had developed interest in service delivery issues when I was much younger as I would attend residents’ meetings just after I completed Form Four in about 2007.
“Working at the supermarket made me understand how to handle residents in a better way. When you are a merchandiser, the first thing you are taught is good treatment of clients. So, when I contested to become a councillor, I already knew how to handle the public,” said Cllr Ncube.
He said after his first election as a councillor in 2013, he had a challenge with council employees, some of whom thought he was too young to speak about the city’s service delivery issues.
“Some of them would rudely respond forgetting that I was elected like any other councillor. I remained firm especially on service delivery issues and with time workers realised I meant business. I would like to thank the residents who stood by me when I was first elected councillor and are still supporting me today. As a Deputy Mayor it means I have more responsibilities as I have to serve not just my ward but the entire city,” he said.
Cllr Ncube said being elected Deputy Mayor was confirmation from his colleagues that they have confidence in his leadership.
He said his position should see him helping council achieve its vision.
“The mayor needs a loyal deputy and I believe I have those qualities. I will support the mayor and the city in pursuit of its vision despite the challenges we are facing.
“Right now, we have a serious water crisis that I believe needs all of us to address as opposed to finger pointing. It’s a problem that requires both council and residents if it is to be addressed permanently,” said Cllr Ncube.
He said payment of bills has dropped to 34 percent, affecting council’s ability to respond to service delivery.
Cllr Ncube said Covid-19 created an unbudgeted expense hence residents should understand council as it pleads with them for a supplementary budget.
“Service delivery is like buying at a tuck-shop, you can’t just order without providing the money for the wanted items. If residents do not pay bills it will be difficult for council to provide services because council provides services from the money paid by residents,” said Cllr Ncube.
“I know we have a water crisis which could result in residents protesting through non- payment of bills but this is not the only service that council is providing.
“Actually, water shedding programme has made it expensive for council to provide water as it has to deliver water to residents using water bowsers in some areas. We just need to engage more with residents.”
Cllr Ncube expressed disappointment with some youths whom he said lack interest in service delivery issues.
He said youths should stop joking or downplaying challenges affecting the city and the country but should be actively involved in addressing them.
Turning to his farming project, Cllr Ncube said the project was now thriving after he took a loan from a local bank which he used as working capital.
“Farming can only be successful when you have adequate resources hence my decision to take a loan.
“I was advanced a loan by Empower Bank which I used as working capital as well as buying farming implements.
“I have since repaid the loan in full and Iam now enjoying the profits from my farming venture.Now I can dedicate more time to my council duties,” he said. — @nqotshili Chronicle