Saturday, September 18, 2021

Masvingo City Council internal wrangles


Tawanda Gozo

….where does the beef
come from?

…as councillor accuses
‘drunkard’ city engineer for poor service delivery

….blocked gold mining
interests unravel



Masvingo Urban Ward 10
Councillor Sengerayi Manyanga on October 01 took to a TellZim social media
platform to accuse city engineer Tawanda Gozo of ineptitude and drunkenness
which he blamed for poor water provision to residents.

The youthful Zanu PF
councillor, who is known for his rabble-rousing and often non-diplomatic
cash-talk, also cast aspersions on Gozo’s qualifications, saying he suspected
the engineer was not professionally fit for the job.

“Our engineer does not
take issues of service delivery seriously,” wrote Manyanga in a WhatsApp group
which had many angry residents who hardly get water supplies in their
residential areas.

“In one council
meeting, I asked him to produce his engineering qualification and he failed to
do so. I think he does not have requisite qualifications to be city engineer.
As you complain here about all these service delivery problems, he is in his
office drinking whisky,” he continued.

“For two days, water
has been flowing out of a burst main supply pipe in Morningside, treated water.
He also connected Clipsham Views to the municipal water supply system without
council resolution. Clipsham Views was connected to the water supply systems
irregularly and that is one of the reasons why that suburb gets water all the
time while you don’t get any in your areas,” Manyanga charged.

As the debate raged,
new details began to emerge, with some sources telling TellZim that Manyanga’s
allegations were a case of sour grapes as the engineer had recommended that
council turn down his application to mine gold on the crest of Target Kopje Hill
which happens to host the city’s biggest water storage tanks.

The area is already
being mined by ‘some political heavy-weights’ who controversially got a permit
to do so despite council and the Provincial Mining Department voicing concerns
about the safety of both residents and the water tanks.

“Manyanga is just
fighting his own selfish battles. He is not worried about the welfare of
residents but is being vindictive at being denied the privilege to mine on
those precarious hills,” said a source.

TellZim also saw part
of Gozo’s recent report to council’s Finance and General Purpose, Health and Housing
committees stating in brief why many requests for mining permission on the
hills including Manyanga’s should be turned down.

“A letter was received
from Mr. S. Manyanga of Sengerayi Investments requesting for a consent letter
from the City of Masvingo to carry out mining activities at target Kopje Hills.
Council deliberated on 11/09/2020 and had resolved that in light of the
challenges from the current mining activities at the area affecting residential
areas and where there is non-compliance with regulations, there should not be
any more letters of consent permitting mining in the area (Resolution Number
256 A 1&2 refers).

“The Ministry of Mines and
Mining Development had also indicated an incapacity to adequately supervise the
mining activities to ensure compliance with the regulatory framework. In light
of the above, it is recommended that the application be turned down,” reads
part of Gozo’s report.

The report also shows
that other applications for letters of consent to mine at the site were turned
down too and those include an application by Phainos Makwarimba, another
youthful and highly-influential Zanu PF member in the province.

However, the sources
said Gozo himself was not without controversy and that it would be folly to
assume that Manyanga simply made up all his allegations from the blue.

“Remember the previous
council led by Hubert Fidze wanted to fire him for many gross errors of
omission and commission but he cunningly worked his way out of trouble. It is
also not without some substance that Clipsham was connected in a dodgy way.
That is on record. We may not even want to bother talking about the frequent
pipe bursts that are seldom attended to on time,” said another source.

During a visit in 2018
by the Justice Tendai Uchena-led Commission of Enquiry into the Sale of State
Land in and Around Urban Areas Since 2005, Gozo was seriously censored by
members of the commission for approving a shoddy road network plan in Clipshjam

In January this year,
the city supplied half-treated water to residents after the staff at the
Bushmead Water Treatment Plant neglected buying aluminium sulphate, a key
component in the water treatment process.

The debacle led to the
suspension and ultimate demotion of the water works’ chief superintendent, but
Gozo himself, who oversees the department, was left unscathed. 


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