Chiredzi council in the red

Serious financial problems have hit Chiredzi Town Council amid reports that the local authority owes banks and other institutions money close to $500, 000.

The ballooning debt according to council sources has since affected service delivery as garbage has remained uncollected for several days in some areas while all roads in the town are in bad shape.

There are also reports of financial mismanagement in with close to $20, 000 meant to build a foot bridge at Makondo stream allegedly misappropriated by council management as the job done does not match the amount paid.

The financial crisis recently took a new twist when the National Social Security Authority (NASSA) which is one of the institutions owed money garnished close to $100 000 from the municipality claiming that the amount is long overdue and the local authority had failed to honour its obligation to repay back the money.

It also emerged that the council is failing to pay its workers on time as the financial problems continue to be severely felt.

“We are in the red and NSSA has issued us with a garnish order and they are not entertaining any negotiations as they feel the debt is now long over due “, Robert Rukara, the Finance Director, told a full council meeting recently.

“We also owe banks various amounts of money. Some of the banks include the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ), Standard Chartered Bank and Banc ABC, among others,” he added.

Although it could not be ascertained how the debt had ballooned to that figure, it is understood that the previous council borrowed huge sums of money from financial institutions and the money has been attracting interest over the years.

It also emerged this week that nearly all councillors within the Chiredzi town council are up in arms against council Chairman Francis Moyo whom they accuse of trying to protect council officials over the misuse of $20, 000 meant for the footbridge at Makondo stream.

The local authority’s last full council meeting allegedly lasted for less than 30 minutes as councillor protested against their chairman for supporting the misuse of $20, 000 by council management.

Sources within the council told The Zimbabwean that at one time Moyo invited councillors to a meeting at a local hotel where he wanted to discourage them from questioning the misuse of the funds.

“The chairman invited us to a meeting at a local hotel where he wanted us to buy his idea of supporting council management over the misuse of the funds but we all differed with him on the issue ,” said a councillor who chose remain anonymous.

Moyo while confirming that the council is facing serious financial problems denied that councillors were up in arms against him.

“I think all our meetings have been going on very well and I do not see why some people would say councillors were protesting against me,”said Moyo.

However Moyo could not be drawn into commenting on allegations that he was trying to shied council officials who allegedly abused funds meant for the foot bridge.

Sources said the local authority’s last and latest full council meeting did not last for 15 minutes.

“Some councillors deliberately slept while others just ignored the proceedings resulting the meeting being adjourned after a record 15 minutes,” said the source.

“Councillors were not happy with the chairman and they just decided to protest and we are not sure whether they will not do the same in the next meeting,” added the source.

Residents of Chiredzi have complained of poor service delivery . They argue that roads in the town are all in poor shape with nearly all of them now being dust roads.

Garbage according to the residents is not being collected on time amid fears of disease outbreaks.

“We are not happy with the services we are getting from the council because all points to deterioration of service delivery,” said Simon Muzuru of Tshovani high density suburb in Chiredzi.

“We are calling on the city fathers to pull up their socks or to just resign ,”he said.

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