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Council under fire over US$84k loan

The residents said the loan extended to Dube also coincided with a decision by the city council to sell an industrial stand in unclear circumstances.

BY SILAS NKALA Victoria Falls councillors have come under fire from residents after they resolved to grant the city’s town clerk Ronnie Dube a loan of US$84K to buy a car at a time the local authority is failing to pay its workers on time.

The residents said the loan extended to Dube also coincided with a decision by the city council to sell an industrial stand in unclear circumstances.

Victoria Falls Combined Residents Association chairman Kelvin Moyo questioned the local authority’s decision to prioritise a ‘luxury’ vehicle for the town clerk over service delivery.

“Residents as interested stakeholders expect the money that they pay in rates and tariffs to be channelled towards worthy causes, not a luxurious vehicle for the town clerk,” Moyo said.

“The reasons why residents are questioning this loan is that council employees go without their salaries.

“It, therefore, boggles the mind to find that an individual is benefiting at the expense of 200 employees.

“Residents feel it was quite early for city fathers to approve such an amount of money towards the purchase of a vehicle, which in my view is a luxury.

“That money should have been channelled to more urgent matters such as addressing water challenges in Mkhosana suburb.”

Victoria Falls mayor Somvelo Dlamini confirmed the US$84 000 loan and said the local authority had failed to provide Dube with a vehicle for the past two years despite a car being part of his conditions of service.

“For the past two years he was not provided with the vehicle and he decided to apply for a loan,” Dlamini said.

“That is why the council granted the loan.”

He said the municipality also sold a industrial stand to raise money for the rehabilitation of the resort towns’ aging sewer and water reticulation system in the face of population growth.

“The current system was installed in 1972, and we saw fit to dispose of that land to fund the water sanitation programme,” Dlamini said.

“The total cost budget for the programme is at US$15 million and the land was sold for US$4, 4 million.

“The procurement was done and bids were flighted before the land was allocated to one bidder.

“I do not understand why residents are complaining.”

The developments have caused an uproar with residents blasting the municipality for prioritising luxuries against falling service delivery in the resort town.

A number of council premises such as clinics face serious challenges owing to neglect and underfunding. Some suburbs such as Mkhosana go for days without water.

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