Residents of Zvishavane have told the local council chairman in a no-holds-barred interview that he and his councillors are corrupt.
Speaking during a radio debate Monday, the residents and ratepayers accused Esau Gwatipedza Dube of conniving with other councillors to loot council land to build tuck shops and houses.
The residents said they had started boycotting payments to the local authority after it emerged it was operating illegally as government has not approved its 2016 budget over the corruption charges.
Dube said an emergency meeting was held Monday after government rejected their budget on the basis that it was not signed by councillors. Dube claimed that councillors had refused to authorize the budget because town secretary Tinoda Mukutu refused to act on corruption unveiled during an audit, in which $120 000 was found to have disappeared from council coffers.
“People are in court because of the stolen money. There’s no system to curb the thefts,” Dube said.
Dube cited Mukutu’s decision to reinstate town finance director George Jongoni, who had been suspended to facilitate corruption investigations.
Lawyer Tichaona Chivasa however said the councillors and management should “postpone their differences because people are not benefitting”.
“The council is operating illegally,” Chivasa said. “They do not have a right to charge anyone anything.”
The lawyer said the entire council should resign over the budget scandal, which has seen the authority pumping heavily polluted, untreated water into homes, failing to collect garbage and sewer pipes bursting everywhere in the potholed town.
The Zvishavane Residents and Ratepayers Association last week met with local government minister Saviour ‘Tyson’ Kasukuwere and asked him to dissolve the MDC-T – led council for failing to run the platinum and diamond mining boomtown.
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