Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Municipal Reporter

THE Bulawayo City Council is awaiting the outcome of court case challenging Statutory Instrument 167 of 2020 that gives effect to new street names in the city to go ahead with the changes.

Last month the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, July Moyo gazetted Statutory Instrument 167 of 2020 which effectively confirmed the government proposed street names in the country, a development that saw a number of the nation’s heroes both living and dead being honoured.

This was after the MDC Alliance dominated local authority, in February attempted to waylay the government’s proposed street name changes by passing a counter resolution of their own to rename some of its major roads and buildings in what they said was meant to preserve the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial history and heritage of the city.

The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) through their lawyers Job Sibanda and Associates, later filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court challenging Minister’s approval of street name changes as contained in S1 167/20 under Names (Alterations) (Amendment of Schedule) Notice.

According to a council confidential report the local authority noted that while the Statutory Instrument meant the name changes were now law they would wait for the completion of the court case to then proceed with the renaming.

“Council was second respondent (in the court application) and it had taken a decision not to oppose the matter because we are not the authors of the Statutory Instrument and as such would not be able to defend it. Council will wait for the court to make a ruling and comply with the court order.

“It was important to note that the Statutory Instrument was law and valid until it is set aside by a competent court.

This application did not suspend the operations of the Statutory Instrument, however from a financial prudence point of view it was only logical to wait for the matter to be finalised and then implement to avoid being wasteful,” reads the council report.

According to the application the residents want the court to declare SI 167/20 and the resultant renaming of the streets in Bulawayo, a nullity, arguing it was in violation of some provisions of the Urban Councils Act.