Zvishavane Town Council is still operating on autopilot two years after the suspension of the local authority’s top brass on corruption allegations.
The council’s Town Clerk, Tinoda Mukutu, Engineer Enerst Mapwashike and the Housing Director Nhlanhla Ngwenya were suspended in 2021.
The trio are accused of unprocedurally ordering the payment of US$2 million to a private contractor in a CBD expansion project without going to tender.
Zvishavane Town Council Chairman Khulekani Ndhlovu has said the suspension of the top management has affected the local authority’s developmental plans for the past two years.
“We are like operating on auto-pilot.
“Those who are in acting capacity are failing to execute their duties properly,” he said.
Sources said council entered into partnership with JM construction to service land behind the swimming pool in Zvishavane opposite Pick Pay.
The agreement was that JM will service the land at zero cost meaning council didn’t pay anything in terms of materials to be used.
The agreement was that JM would finish the project within 2 years.
Council and JM Construction agreed to share the commercial stands at a 30-70 ratio.
As the contractor, JM, would get the higher percentage so that it could recover the money injected into the project.
However, a year down the line the contractor failed to meet the deadline due to economic hardships.
The three council officials however still renewed the agreement without going to tender.
In addition, the three allegedly paid the contractor an additional US$2m to complete the project.
The matter was then reported to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) which arrested the trio.
However, some sources have added that the suspension of the trio was politically motivated as some business people in the town were against the project.
“Some of the councilors are being bribed to destabilise the smooth running of council.
“There are business people who have illegal structures which were issued with demolition orders.
“They are against the expansion of the CBD as it will bring in new players to the town,” a source said.
The CBD expansion would have seen construction of an up-market vending stall, a state of the art long distance bus terminus, a New Town House and a Fire Station.
The trio’s corruption case has since been moved from Zvishavane to Provincial courts in Gweru.
This is despite the matter having been initialy thrown away by the Zvishavane courts due to lack of merit.
The trio were initially told to report for work after the case was dismissed by the Zvishavane court.
However, soon after their reprieve they were served again with another docket.