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Another Tsholotsho top official fired

by Staff reporter
15 Dec 2019 at 12:12hrs | Views
AS confusion continues to reign supreme at the Tsholotsho Rural District Council (RDC) a senior official was on Thursday fired from the local authority, bringing to three the number of executives who have parted ways with the local authority in as many weeks.

Executive officer (natural resources), Mr Simelisizwe Sibanda was dismissed from the local authority by a disciplinary committee over his alleged failure to declare interests in a company that got a number of tenders with the local authority.

The disciplinary committee was chaired by prominent Bulawayo lawyer Mr Robert Ndlovu.

Mr Simelisizwe Sibanda's dismissal, however, is likely to cripple the local authority which is already operating without a substantive chief executive officer after the resignation of Mr Themba Moyo, they also do not have a substantive executive officer after the resignation of Mr Khumbulani Hlabangani.

Mr Simelisizwe Sibanda's deputy, Mr Mthokozisi Dlodlo also tendered his resignation last week meaning the local authority does not have anyone to man the office of natural resources.

The acting CEO, Mr Nkululeko Sibanda's designation is executive officer (health), meaning the RDC is also operating without a substantive officer to man the health office.

In essence the local authority therefore, just has two substantive officers in the form of executive officer (audit) and executive officer (human resources).

Council chairperson, Councillor Esau Siwela, however, said he was not appraised officially on the outcome of the hearing. He said Mr Ndlovu had promised to send the entire verdict to the council offices on Monday.

"While I am aware that the verdict was passed yesterday (Thursday) I have not yet got sight of the actual verdict hence I cannot say what was the actual outcome, I was told the disciplinary committee chairperson said he will deliver it to our offices on Monday (tomorrow) morning.

"For now all I can confirm is that the verdict was passed but I am not aware of the contents, further the acting CEO was not in office to communicate with me, so I will wait till Monday," said Clr Siwela.

According to Mr Simelisizwe Sibanda, the charge sheet, he was being accused of failing to declare an interest in a company that was paid over US$121 000 for unspecified services by CAMPFIRE committees. The company — Pick N Delite Investments — had at one point, his next of kin, Ms Nokuthula Sibanda as its director.

Ironically, Mr Sibanda was placed off remand over the same issue, with Magistrate, Mrs Ulukile Ndlovu saying he will now appear through summons.

The local authority, at one point put him on forced leave pending the outcome of the court case.

Councillors further accused him of penning a tip-off letter to the Finance Ministry, Local Government and Public Works as well as the Auditor-General's office exposing the loopholes surrounding the issuance of the contract to Matupula Hunters.

However, in a letter to the executive officer-in-charge of Natural Resources, addressed by the acting CEO, the expulsion has since been downgraded under unclear circumstances despite there being a council resolution on him being summarily dismissed.

"These charges emanate from the allegations that you did write a letter to the Ministry of Finance copied to Ministry of Local Government, council chairperson and the chief executive officer, complaining that council resolved to issue Matupula Hunters a contract without the approval of the chief accounting officer of council. It was expected that as a council employee you should have sought audience with the employer before overriding council decisions.

"You did wilfully refuse to execute an order given to you by the employer for you to issue an authorisation letter in respect of the Matupula hunting authorisation correspondence. You, however, in the contrary wrote a letter to Zimparks in a bid to block the issuance of a permit to the said hunter," reads part of the letter.

In the letter penned by Mr Simelisizwe Sibanda on the said irregularities surrounding the Matupula hunting concession contract —  which is at the centre of his dismissal — he notes that his objections to support the issuance of the contract premised on the fact that procurement proceedings relating to the concession were set aside by the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe under case number PRAZ/RP/03/2019.

Ironically, the letter resulted in the acting CEO being arrested and is now out on bail pending trial over the matter.

Meanwhile, the acting CEO, Mr Nkululeko Sibanda defied a council order requiring him to appear before a disciplinary hearing to face a verbal reprimand for the role he played in the purchasing of a computer software without following procedure.

The acting CEO is also out on bail regarding the same matter.

Clr Siwela confirmed these developments, saying Mr Nkululeko Sibanda did not even bother to inform them of his not coming to the disciplinary hearing only saying his child was not feeling well when he was called to explain his whereabouts.

"We all were by the offices at 9am (Thursday) waiting for the acting CEO to pitch up for the disciplinary hearing but he was in no show, we enquired with his personal assistant who also professed ignorance on his absence, we had to actually call him on his mobile phone of which he claimed his child was sick.

"We then resolved to refer the issue back to council's human resources committee who will then make a resolution which will then go through normal council processes," said Clr Siwela.

Source - sundaymail