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Government clips wings on councillors

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Government has clipped wings on councillors to stop rampant abuse of office by allocating themselves several stands and profiteering in the process.

In a circular written to all urban local authorities Local Government, Public Works and National Housing permanent secretary Eng George Mlilo said such stands should be allocated on the basis of waiting list or by public tender.

“Following various abuses and misinterpretations of Circular No 1 of 2016 dated 17 February 2016, the Minister has, in terms of Section 112 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15), set new perks for councillors which come into effect immediately. As a result circular 1 of2016 and Circular 12 dated November 4 are hereby repealed and replaced.”

“The Minister (Saviour Kasukuwere) has withdrawn all priviledges for councillors to purchase commercial or industrial stands. All such stands should be allocated on the basis of the waiting list or by public tender. Councillors many not use their position to gain such stands outside normal council procedure,” reads the circular.

Eng Mlilo said where a council has a policy which allows for councillors to acquire industrial, commercial or residential stands in any manner outside of this circular, such policy is declared null and void.

He said to facilitate serving councillors to live in a dignified manner the Minister has granted permission to councillors who do not have a residence within their wards to be allocated a single residential stand in their life time.

The stand may be sold to the councillor at a discount of 40 percent of the normal value.

He said councillors should be made to understand that the offer of a residential stand is a priviledge and not an entitlement in terms of the circular is not for profit or aggrandizement.

“The stand is to be offered to the councillor on a lease with the option to purchase with payments being made in equal monthly instalments and completed before the end of the term of office of the councillor. Title may not be issued until the development of the home is complete. The councillor may not sell the stand or cede the lease during his/her term of office.”

“The Minister has directed that no councillor, mayor or chairperson will receive any exit package on completion of their tenure. The restriction to holding of workshops, seminars and training sessions within the council area of jurisdiction remains in force.” reads the circular.

Other conditions of service remain the same.

Several reports have been made against Zvishavane and Chiredzi town councils following reports of abuse of funds and illegal parceling out of residential and commercial stands by councillors and officials.

Harare councillors have also been accused of looting.

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