Chiredzi Councillors, Council management clash over purchase of service vehicles

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Chiredzi Town Council Town Secretary, Wesley Engineer Kauma

Beatific Gumbwanda

CHIREDZI Town Council management recently clashed with councilors in a full council meeting after management pushed councilors to pass a resolution to purchase four SUVs for Departmental Heads as part of their conditions of services with what councilors believed was an inflated figure than that was initially budgeted for in 2024 budget yet to be approved by the Minister of Local Government Public works.
Councillors Philimon Muchaendepi and Jameson Charumbira refused to pass the resolution with what they said was an inflated amount, saying they could only pass one with figures tallying what was budgeted for in the 2024 budget.
The full council went on to shelve the resolution to borrow USD$278 116.00 from the Estate Account into the corporate account earmarked for the purchase of the vehicles.
Giving her presentation, Finance and General Purpose Committee Chairperson, Vimbai Ushe proposed the resolution, awaiting adoption by the council, to seeking cabinet approval for the purchase of four senior management vehicles with a figure higher than the one budgeted for in the 2024 budget.
“The Finance Committee resolved to seek cabinet approval for the purchase of four senior management vehicles which is part of their conditions of services,” said Ushe
The audit committee Chairperson Councillor Sekai Njanjure then rose to oppose the committee resolution saying the figures being proposed were different from those budgeted for in the 2024 and said it was wise for council to wait for the approval of the budget before purchasing the vehicles.
“We are now confused. The figures that are being proposed here are different from the ones we budgeted for in the 2024 budget. I think we should wait for the approval of the budget in order to be guided accordingly,” said Njanjure.
Councilor Muchaendepi then openly disclosed that council budgeted the purchase of the Town Secretary’s vehicle at a cost of US$85 000 in the 2024 budget which is now contradicting with the proposed one of US$115 000,00.
“The figures that we budgeted for in the 2024 budget are not tallying with the ones being proposed here. For instance the Town Secretary’s Vehicle was budgeted for US$85 000.00 but now we are being forced to make a resolution of the inflated figure raised to US$115 000.00,” said Muchaendepi.
However, Chiredzi Town Council Secretary, Engineer Wesley Kauma said the vehicles were part of the conditions of service for the employees in order to motivate them in executing their duties properly.
“These are the conditions of service, can they only be implemented after we have managed to complete all the pending projects, which is impossible to complete. If that is the case, we can work with that,” said Engineer Kauma.
Councilors said there was need for better service delivery before the purchase of the vehicles.
Council Chairperson Jameson Charumbira, closed the debate by highlighting that a proposal to buy management vehicles with figures tallying with those in the budget be send to the responsible Minister for approval and shelved a proposal to borrow money from the estate account into the corporate account in order to purchase the vehicles.
“Let’s shelve a resolution to borrow from the Estate account while we recommend to seek cabinet approval for the purchase of management vehicles using the budgeted figures,” said Charumbira.
On December 20, 2023, Chiredzi Town Council held a special full council meeting at Beitbridge Summit Hotel where they agreed to sell the Chairperson’s vehicle at book price to Alderman Gibson Hwende as well as adopting the model conditions of service of urban local authority in terms of section 123 (1) c of the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29:15 subject to registration in terms of section (3) of the Labour Act Chapter 28.01 and also conditions of service for Town Secretary subject to approval by the responsible Minister.

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