Vusumuzi Dube, Online News Editor
A BULAWAYO councillor reportedly leased a council property in 2019 which is fully guarded by council security and to date has only paid $750.
Further, despite added costs of securing the area being met buy council, no development or activity has taken place at the property.
This came out during a full council meeting on Wednesday last week where Ward 29 councillor, Alderman Monica Lubimbi was appealing against the repossession of the stand which she, in her application, had stated she wanted to establish a pre-school and an orphanage. The stand was a former building materials site.
According to a council report, Ald Lubimbi had not formalised the lease processes despite several reminders to do so.
She further had failed to provide any proof of income only stating in her appeal that she wants “her” stand back.
“Alderman M Lubimbi had managed to pay an amount of $750 for the lease preparation fees only. The applicant made promises to complete the processes but never honoured the same, council incurred expenses for guarding the premises as there were council security guards providing security to the council property.
“As such, council on 2 June 2021 had resolved to repossess stand number 6411 Magwegwe from Alderman M Lubimbi due to her failure to finalise the lease signing process. However, the applicant had lodged an appeal against the repossession of stand number 6411 Magwegwe,” reads part of the council report.
In the letter of appeal, Ald Lubimbi cited the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason for her failure to kick start the project.
“I, Alderman M Lubimbi is appealing the repossession of stand number 6411 Magwegwe North Extension on the grounds that the economy was not okay for everyone in the country and it was made worse by Covid-19 but I still need the stand to put up an orphanage which will serve orphans in our community and Bulawayo as a whole.
“Ngiyasifuna istande sithethwe yiCouncil ngelanga abalibhalileyo ele full Council (I want the repossessed stand during the set date of the full council meeting,” reads the letter.
Commenting on the appeal, council departments noted that there was a need for the local authority to note the financial losses that had been incurred by the local authority noting that Ald Lubimbi had even failed to produce proof of income in her appeal.
“The Town Planning Department (city valuer and estates officer) advised that; the appellant was offered the stand before Covid-19 and lease processes could have been completed before and since the date of offer, a period of over two years, the premises had been guarded by council security thereby incurring costs which would never be recovered.
“Again over the same period, council had lost a potential revenue of US$1 950 since lease was not finalised.The applicant initially failed to finalise the lease process and aftermaking an appeal for the same, she did not produce any proof of funding as requested to show her capacity to develop the stand,” reads the report.
In deliberating the matter, the council sub-committee on allocation of stands and premises for development resolved to refer the issue to council’s finance and development committee to decide on the financial implications of the matter.
However, councillors in the finance and development committee decided to block moves to repossess the stand, despite the financial implications, instead they upheld the appeal and decided to give Ald Lubimbi ‘a second chance’.
“The Sub-Committee on Allocation of Stands and Premisesor Development referred the matter back to the Finance and Development committee to decide on the financial implications.
“Discussions ensued and the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Mlandu Ncube) suggested that the applicant be given a second chance since she had appealed against the decision. After some deliberations, the committee agreed that the appeal be upheld and the applicant should finalise the lease process,” reads the council report.