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Vic Falls town clerk reinstated

by Staff Reporter
26 Jun 2021 at 06:25hrs | Views
Ronnie Dube
A COMMISSION of inquiry set by Victoria Falls City Council to investigate allegations of corruption levelled against suspended Town Clerk Ronnie Dube has exonerated him, paving way for his reinstatement.

Victoria Falls Mayor Councillor Somveli Dlamini suspended Dube on April 28, 2021 accusing him of corruption, gross incompetence, abuse of office and causing the local authority to lose revenue.

The suspension was without pay and benefits.

Councillors revoked the suspension before Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo verbally suspended Dube on May 14, after Dube had appeared in court facing a charge of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.

Dube is out on $50 000 bail.

Councillors were divided over the issue and recently set up a five-member commission of inquiry comprising three former councillors Vusumuzi Moyo, Million Moyo and Alderman Nkosilathi Jiyane who is the city's former Mayor, Hwange Rural District Council chief executive Mr Phindile Ncube and lawyer Mr Elvis Mashindi.

The commission presented its findings to the council on Thursday where it stated that there was no wrongdoing by Dube.

The commission chaired by Ald Jiyane said the charges could have emanated from personal vendettas and lack of trust within council and recommended that the local authority should improve on its information handling and avoid having any random speaking for the organisation.

It said the council has a lot of work to do especially in policy making.

The council, the commission said, should have conducted a thorough internal investigation on the allegations before going public and would have ‘picked that there was no nexus between the allegations and Mr Dube's conduct as a Town Clerk. Most of the stands were allocated before he commenced employment with the council.

"We are not a hearing body but a commission to gather facts on allegations. We dealt with issues that were availed to us as allegations and so we gathered information, checked on the stands in question through physical visits and documents and interviewed concerned parties.

We found no charges against the Town Clerk and we have forwarded recommendations to council and it's up to them to take a decision.

"Further there is need for the council to have watertight public relations policy and guidelines. Leaking of confidential company business is the order of the day. There is need for council to have a one anchor person communicating council's position to the outside world regarding its issues. We recommend that the council proceeds in terms of Section 139 (3) (b) of the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29:15 in light of our findings. In future there is need for council to have internal dispute resolution mechanisms to safeguard taxpayers' money," read the recommendations.

The findings were that the stand number 1782, which was sold to Shearwater Explorers Village, that formed the basis of Dube's arrest, was virgin land and the issue of putting it on tender does not arise as it was not zoned for commercial purposes.

The commission said due processes were followed and application for land was considered by the management committee on 7 February 2018, with a full council on 1 November 2018 resolving that the 1 ha stand be allocated to Shearwater at a price that was to be determined by land evaluators.

The said land was only accessible through Shearwater Explorers Village since there was no road to make it available to other takers hence there is no current infringement to other neighbouring properties if the extent is made available to any other developer.

The council immediately convened a special full council that recommended Dube's reinstatement.

In a statement addressed to Local Government Minister July Moyo and copied to Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo, Provincial Development Coordinator Mrs Sithandiwe Ncube and Deputy Mayor Cllr Patricia Mwale and Cllr Dlamini said Dube was reinstated with immediate effect.

"The special full council meeting held on 24 June 2021, resolved that following recommendation of the commission of inquiry it is clear that there is nothing that implicates you to the alleged offences. You are therefore reinstated with full pay and benefits with immediate effect," said Cllr Dlamini.

Source - Chronicle