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Councillors scramble for heavily discounted stands

by Staff reporter
30 Mar 2019 at 22:59hrs | Views
COUNCILLORS in Bulawayo have started getting land with most of them identifying residential stands in some of the city's affluent suburbs, Sunday News can exclusively reveal.

The scheme meant to benefit new councillors only, will see the council awarding councillors heavy discounts and waivers when purchasing residential and commercial stands in the city.

Investigations by Sunday News last week revealed that the Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni and Deputy Mayor, Clr Tinashe Kambarami will get adjacent stands measuring 4 000 square metres each at the corner of Jessie Lloyd Road and Erica Hapburn Road in Ilanda. Other councillors would be allocated in-fill stands in Four Winds and Highmount.

In total the local authority has 15 new councillors and after yesterday's by-election in Ward 28 the figure will increase to 16. Ward 28 fell vacant after the death of Clr Hapison Ncube. In the latest developments council officials are reportedly in the process of drafting offer letters for the stands.

Contacted for comment, Clr Mguni professed ignorance on the matter saying he had not been availed with any offer letter nor was there a council resolution on the matter.

"Honestly, I am hearing this for the first time. I have not received any offer letter and I don't remember there being a council resolution that spoke to new councillors getting stands," said Clr Mguni.

Clr Kambarami said while he was not aware that land had already been identified for the new councillors, he was aware of the directive for councillors to get residential stands at a discounted rate.

"All I know is that there is a Government directive for councillors to get stands but I am not aware whether this directive has been effected for new councillors as yet," said the Deputy Mayor.

However, an impeccable council source revealed that council officials were now preparing the paperwork for the councillors after identifying the stands to be given.

"The initial idea was to give the councillors offer letters after the full council meeting this Wednesday but there are still a number of legal matters that can be handled. Most of the stands are in Four Winds and Highmount, it is only the Mayor and Deputy Mayor who got adjacent properties in Ilanda. All the stands to be given to the new councillors measure 4 000 square metres. Actually what happened is that the new councillors were requested to identify the stands after which the department of engineering services would then access the stands whether they are habitable or not. Part of the mayor and deputy mayor's stands are within a swampy area of which the two noted the advantage of drilling a borehole as the underground water wouldn't be far under," said the source.

According to the scheme councillors will be awarded 40 percent discounts on all purchases of residential and commercial stands. The councillors will also be exempted from the normal requirements of putting up a building - this is inclusive of the period by which one is required to do developmental work before council repossesses the stand.

They will also be in a position to acquire commercial stands without having to go to tender. The directive only applies to new councillors and does not benefit councillors who served in the previous council. In the past councillors have been caught on the wrong side of the law with regards to this scheme with some councillors going further, leasing out of public property like factory shells, public toilets and flea markets to themselves.

The councillors have also been accused of influencing the allocation of council property for lease such as kiosks and beer halls, a role that is supposed to be played by council officials. The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Cde July Moyo could not be reached for comment.

Source - Sunday News