RESIDENTS have appealed to Bulawayo City Council to reopen public sitting areas at the main City Hall, city parks and near the clock tower, which were closed at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The public sitting areas have remained closed despite the lifting of stringent lockdown regulations.
Residents and college students have petitioned council, demanding that the public places be reopened so that they can sit and relax, while they discuss assignments.
Initiator of the petition, Jahalezansi Brian Sibanda, said he had not received a response as why the public spaces remain closed long after government eased COVID-19 regulations.
“Communication with the city authorities has proven that there is no real reason behind the closure of this serene public sphere. If COVID-19 was the concern, then the city fathers wouldn’t be hiring out city halls for functions, where people are seen not observing COVID-19 protocols,” Sibanda said.“Several concerns raised by residents show that they want the public spaces to be reopened, and this is why we have mobilised like-minded individuals to sign this petition. If no action is taken by the city authorities to address the needs of residents, then other means of communication will be used.”
Hundreds of other concerned Bulawayo residents have also taken to social media to voice their frustration at the prolonged closure of the public spaces.
Many have described them as the only places they can peacefully and comfortably sit in the central business district.
Deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube said the council was monitoring the situation.“It’s not true that COVID-19 regulations have not been totally removed. We are still monitoring the situation. We all know that the numbers are increasing, and we need to give time for the vegetation that we planted to grow so that we finally open the parks. We want residents to find the park clean once we open it,” Ncube said, adding that council was also crafting measures to discourage littering.