Stands corruption storm in Victoria Falls

The Chronicle

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter

VICTORIA Falls residents are up in arms with the local authority over alleged corruption involving sale of commercial stands among a myriad of concerns.

The Victoria Falls Combined Residents Association (Vifacora) said it had been engaging councillors and management lately to register residents’ concerns and held back-to-back meetings with ratepayers recently to give them feedback from the closed door meetings.

Three meetings were held over the weekend with Chinotimba and Mkhosana residents who are the most affected by poor service delivery.

Vifacora chairman Mr Kelvin Moyo said among residents’ concerns were a proposal by the council to give the Mayor, Councillor Somvelo Dlamini the mayoral vehicle he is using, a Toyota Fortuner, allocation of loans to council management and unclear sale of two stands, 1811 on Wood Road and 8300 between Grace School and Bonisair. Residents are also bitter that the council leased out bars to private players for a song as the leasees are reportedly paying less than US$5 per month to the local authority. 

Speaking during a meeting in Mkhosana, residents said they were not happy that the local authority was making major decisions without consulting ratepayers.

They resolved that the local authority should reverse all deals entered with private players without consulting residents.

“We met council and five issues came out which are the reason why we are having these feedback meetings. The council is seeking to allow the incumbent mayor to go with the vehicle when he leaves office after serving his term. The same vehicle was used by two previous mayors and residents are questioning why the previous mayors were not given the vehicle and what the new mayor will use after elections next year,” said Mr Moyo.

 “The local authority leased the bars to private players because of lack of viability and residents are not happy that the leases are paying less than US$5. So we are engaging because the beerhalls were corruptly given to investors. There is also the issue of allocation of commercial stand 1811 measuring 500 square metres along Wood Road to a councillor who paid only $11 million for the stand which could fetch as high as US$25 000 for deposit alone.”

Mr Moyo said the residents had proposed to the city fathers that since the piece of land was prime land, it be allocated to a number of beneficiaries including the councillor (name supplied) but the person allegedly rushed to pay $11 million to block any further allocation. 

“We feel the stand could have been sold to private players in foreign currency and that money used for service delivery especially the WASH programme where we need two reservoirs in the city. As for stand 8300, an investor from India wanted to build a state-of-the-art hospital but called off the plans because of Covid-19 outbreak and council retendered.

“A number of private investors including some financial institutions showed interest but it was sold to the lowest bidder who paid US$4 million yet the previous council had pegged the stand at US$14 million and had proposed that any interested investor would fund the US$14 million WASH project in return for the piece of land,” said Mr Moyo.

Residents said the council should be investigated for corruption and councillors should account to the electorate that voted them to office.

They implored the council to reverse the proposal to give the vehicle to the mayor.

“The issue of the vehicle should be put on hold because there is no money to buy a new one. Service delivery is poor and our roads are bad yet the council has leased out bars which should be generating money for the city. The leasees should at least plough back to the community by building schools, clinics or roads and councillors should not lease our property without our consent,” said a resident.

Another one said: “We want all deals that were made without residents’ consent reversed. The problem is that our views are not respected, every year we contribute during budget crafting and nothing is implemented so what’s left is for us to invade the council offices. Let’s go and invade the offices and close them until everything is reversed or we petition Government on this.” 

Vifacora chairperson for Chinotimba Mr Trymore Ndolo said the residents association was not against councillors getting land but want allocations to be done transparently and paid for in foreign currency like any other land seeker.

The meeting resolved that Vifacora leaders will apply to the police for permission for residents to visit the council office for a peaceful demonstration.–@ncubeleon

Article Source: The Chronicle

Enjoyed this post? Share it!