Lusaka mayor Wilson Kalumba says the council has plans to open a radio station where it can be disseminating information to residents.
Meanwhile, Kalumba says in the future, council officials will be passing door to door to verify if everyone has registered for garbage collection and those found in breach will be penalized.
At a media briefing today, Kalumba also said uprooting Zoona, MTN and Airtel will be the order of the day if people don’t pay levies to the council.
“For next year, our budget is estimated at K476 million which is an increase from K373 million in 2017. But as usual residents don’t pay for services, they don’t come to clear their accounts so we only managed to receive 50 percent of K373 million [for 2017]. I must be clear that we are a new administration. What we saw a couple of days ago where we went and removed the kiosks for mobile companies will be the order of the day as we enforce payments. We are going to follow residents to ensure that they pay. People are living in the city minus paying for anything. This is a capital city. We need to support each other. You the residents have the responsibility to ensure that you pay for services,” Kalumba said.
“Us we have the responsibility to provide the services. Local authorities run just as government do. They run on taxes from the citizens. If citizens are not paying authorities, government will have no money to provide the services. Ensure that rates are paid on your properties. Don’t wait for the council. If you know that you have an account running with the local authorities, every year just ensure that you pay. What you saw when we went physically to uproot booths and lock up businesses will be the order of the day. If you are going to demand accountability also ensure that you are paying. We will set up a radio station where we will be disseminating this information to the residents.”
And Kalumba urged marketeers to bear with government as it finds trading spaces for them.
“Works have already started at Simon Mwewa lane and the Zambia army is working on building a market there which will be a two or three storey market to accommodate some of the marketeers from city market. There is also BH Soweto which is an open big area which has been paved to create a market shade by ZNS. Marketeers just have to bear with government and local authorities because I don’t think we can find overnight solutions for them. In the end we are going to have trading spaces for them. It’s going to take about two years to redo city market. According to government policy, we will erase the whole thing and put a four, five storey building,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kalumba said it was mandatory for people to register for garbage collection or they would be penalized for breaching the rules.
“We have increased the number of zones so that we can increase the number of garbage collectors to make it easier for us to pick garbage in Lusaka. The laws about garbage and waste require citizens to register to garbage collection systems approved by the local authority. But what we have seen is that even if it is the law, the residents don’t want to register. So the question is who collects their garbage and where do they take it? People who do not register just send someone with a wheelbarrow to go and throw the garbage at some open space or they burn or dig rubbish pits which is not acceptable. People must just register and have somebody who is collecting their garbage. If nobody is collecting the garbage, you haven’t registered anywhere, then you are not complying with the law which makes it mandatory for you to register for garbage collection system approved by the council,” he said.
“And I think in the near future, we will be passing from house to house to see proof that people are registering for garbage collection. If you are not, you will be totally in breach of the standing rules and you will be penalized for that.”
Kalumba said council officials would learn how to manage public bus service in China.
“Part of our campaign promise was that public transport in Lusaka is chaotic in the sense that we are using small buses to come the central business district. Small buses are uncomfortable, they move at high speed and people are complaining about the behavior of operators. So as local authorities we have set up a company that is going to operate the public bus service in the city. Early this year, I signed an agreement with the city council of China to collaborate on establishing a transport company in Zambia. They are ready for us to go to China and have in-depth discussions on this matter which will cover equipment and financing. We are going to have big clean buses. I will ensure that by next year we have this kind of transport. So we hope that these buses can carry more people and reduce the need to have more vehicles on the roads,” said Kalumba.
“The transport system will be in two parts, buses which bring people in the central business district and urban areas of Lusaka. Within that, the minibuses will still continue playing a role in bringing people in far areas to some point where they can jump on buses that are coming into the central business district. What we want is to decongest the central business district, the inner Lusaka. The minibuses that we have are about 9,000. There are some that are registered by RTSA and others that are not registered. The minibuses will continue playing a role. If you want to go to Chelston for example from Chilenje, in many cases you have to come into town and then go to Chelston. So we have already approved new bus routes for a bus to move from Chelston straight to Chilenje. So those are the routes that these buses can play.”
Kalumba assured the vendors that they would not be removed from the streets until the alleys which would be their new business place was cleaned.
“We are not going to move vendors from the streets until we find them a place where to go. That’s a complete statement. So in short if I haven’t found a place to take vendors to then I can’t remove them because that’s their livelihoods. Most people are taking care of their families from the streets. Vending provides income for people. And what we decided as the council is that we are going to clean up the alleys in the central business districts. And I have heard that some businesses that have heard about our plans are trying to reclaim these alleys. I’m not going to allow it. I can’t clean the alleys for the businesses. I’m cleaning the alleys by paving them for the vendors. Then after that we will not allow any vending in Cairo road or Cha cha cha or Freedom way,” he said.
“We have invited companies to set up free WiFi in the city. I see a lot of people struggling with bundles. We are introducing free WiFi in selected areas of the city. We are already running adverts for companies to do that. Let’s just hope that within the next few months we will have already concluded the evaluation of the proposals and appoint someone to do the free WiFi project for us in Lusaka,” said Kalumba.