MUTARE – MDC Alliance Mutare City Council mayor Blessing Tandi on Tuesday said the top-of-the-range vehicles – worth about US$750 000 – set to be allocated to him and heads of departments would raise their statuses, a priority that comes after the city’s service delivery is at its worst.
A Mutare City Council full meeting recently resolved that the municipality would acquire six top-of-the-range vehicles for the mayor and town clerk Joshua Maligwa, who would each get a Toyota Prado.
Four heads of departments from Finance, Engineering, Housing and Community Services, including Health Services are set to get Toyota Fortuners each.
Both Tandi and Maligwa have confirmed of the development.
In a WhatsApp discussion on service delivery hosted by the United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Trust (UMRRT) forum on Sunday, residents wanted clarification from Tandi on the council’s decision to acquire the top-of-the-range vehicles.
In response, Tandi said: “This can also give status to your city.”
Residents also raised concerns over numerous workshops for councillors and employees that have gobbled large amounts in ratepayers’ money in the form of allowances.
It is alleged that councillors get about ZW$2 700 each per day as out of town allowances.
Sources at the Civic Centre allege that councillors were now habitually attending numerous workshops to maximise on the allowances.
However, Tandi said: “Workshops empower your council.”
In a separate interview, Maligwa confirmed that the council had resolved to acquire the top-of-the-range vehicles.
“The decision was above board. It was resolved in a full council meeting. It was resolved that the mayor and town clerk will get those vehicles and our heads of department will also get vehicles,” said the town clerk.
“It was long over due. This will give (better) statuses to your mayor and town clerk.
“For long, the mayor has been using an unsuitable vehicle. The same applies with our heads of departments,” Maligwa said.
Residents have raised concerns over Mutare City Council’s priorities, questioning the approprieteness of acquiring top-of-the-range vehicles over service delivery.
UMRRT programmes manager Eddie Dube had this to say: “I think the mayor should explain what he meant by “status of the city”.To us residents, status can be measured through quality service delivery through top notch roads, water provision, housing, among others.
“That a status of a city can be measured through the type of cars that the executive drives is very deplorable,” Dube said.
Other concerned residents said: “When we have no water in Dangamvura and Hobhouse for years, when roads are deplorable, when our council clinics do not have proper medication, then we have a council rewarding certain people with Prados and Fortuners, which is about US$700 000 of ratepayers’ money.”
Another resident, John Zimunya, said: “The city’s status is not judged by the type of vehicles driven by its mayor and managers, but the level of service delivery.”
Service delivery in Mutare has been at its worst, with high density suburbs like Dangamvura and Hobhouse facing critical water shortages.
Of late, there have been numerous water bursts.
Sewer pipes in the city are exposing the residents to serious health hazards.
Mutare’s roads are infested with potholes, with some of them now impassable.