Botswana Congress Party councillor for Segoditshane Ward, Ephraim Mabengano, has blamed Mayor Veronica Lesole for the shoddy service delivery at the Gaborone City Council. In a statement released on Monday, Mabengano rubbished Lesole’s statements that service delivery will crumble at GCC if the council’s committees are non-existent.
Opposition councillors last week resigned from GCC committees, at the height of a political brawl in which the opposition is looking to wrestle control of the council from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party. The mass resignations, which are viewed as a motion of no confidence against Lesole, resulted with a resolution being taken for the council to adjourn for 14 days because it cannot operate without committees.
In rebutting Lesole’s statement, Mabengano explained that council committees do not run the council but rather make decisions for the council to implement. He accused GCC of failing to deliver services like refuse collection, maintenance of street-lights, and maintenance of roads. He accused government of starving the GCC of funds, saying the council is all the time awarded only half of its proposed budget.
“This half budget cannot adequately maintain council property including the fleet of vehicles that are supposed to collect refuse, garden waste and rubble. G.C.C operates with only 30 percent of its fleet, the rest are rotting at the council depots and garages, some with minor mechanical problems, with no funds to repair them,” he said.
Mabengano said Lesole and her committee chairpersons have failed to stamp their authority and implement council resolutions.
“Directives from Central government take precedence over council resolutions. We need a vocal leadership that will not allow council procedures and structures to be stamped on. The resolutions that the council makes for implementation by staff are routinely swept aside without explanation,” said Mabengano.
He called for Lesole’s immediate ouster, warning that her continued presence at GCC will only worsen the poor service delivery. He said that GCC performs far below the set service delivery and performance standards that were instituted by the Ministry of Local Government.
“According to the set performance standards, rubble collection should be done in seven days. As I speak, rubble which was paid for early this year is still uncollected,” he said.
Mabengano added that GCC is failing to meet the one month standard delivery time for SHHA loan applications, saying residents who applied as far back as 2010 are still waiting to be assisted.
Lesole last week refused to step down as GCC Mayor after the BDP lost its majority when six of its councillors defected to Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The combined opposition now has 20 councillors while BDP has 15.
In the aftermath, the council is resolved to adjourn for 14 days, after which Lesole will be expected to relinquish the mayorship.
Meanwhile Mabengano warned Lesole that “she can run but she can’t hide”.
“Motions of no confidence are urgent motions and they are not governed by the six months standing order. They can be re-tabled anytime when there is a leadership crisis because the council cannot run for six months without leadership,” said Mabengano.