The Local Government Ministry and Public Works has challenged local authorities to invest in emergency services and make sure they have dedicated firefighting equipment.
This, according to the ministry, the local councils would be able to attend to disasters that are becoming common due to global climate changes.
Some local councils are outsourcing ambulances and fire tenders from private companies when there are fire outbreaks or other emergencies.
A number of accidents have resulted in fatalities as the local authorities have no firefighting vehicles or bolt cutters for emergencies.
At times when firefighters arrive their vehicles fail to get water to fill the tanks while the inferno intensifies.
In light of these challenges, local government officials drawn from different state departments and councils attended a meeting last week in the resort city of Victoria Falls to amend some legislation aligned to the Local Government Ministry.
The aim of the meeting was to realign the local council by-laws with the country’s Constitution and for local authorities to have a paradigm shift in their approach to service delivery.
“Local authorities should behave in a responsible manner on issues of service delivery, including not settling people in illegal areas,” said Local Government Ministry secretary, Zvinechimwe Churu.
“Every local authority should have functional firefighting equipment or service and this includes ambulance services. It will be disappointing that when this vision is achieved you will be still having this predicament. You may not have funds initially but as the economy opens up we should be seen leveraging on that.”
The Local Government Ministry is seeking to amend the existing Acts and come up with proposed Traditional Leaders, Disaster Risk Management, Local Government Board, Urban Councils, Rural District Council, Liquor Licensing, Regional and Town Council, Provincial and Metropolitan Councils; and Municipal Courts and Police bills.
This is in line with constitutional amendment Number 2 which seeks to align all laws with the national Constitution.
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