BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
THE cash-strapped Gweru City Council has lined up several business ventures, including quarry mining, resuscitation of its beer brewing entity Go Beer and turning its aerodrome into an airport as part of efforts to increase its revenue base.
This was revealed recently by mayor Josiah Makombe during an engagement meeting with members of the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe Gweru chapter.
He said council would partner private investors in some of the projects.
“We have lined up business projects for the city, and these include turning our aerodrome into an airport, quarry mining and the revamping of council’s beer concern, Go Beer,” Makombe said.
“We will court private players and in some of these business ventures, we have already engaged partners and are at the stage of drafting the agreements.”
Makombe said the business ventures would see council increasing its revenue streams, as well as move away from over-reliance on ratepayers for the much-needed revenue to finance the municipality’s operations.
But residents expressed reservations about the projects, saying there was a “documented history” of corruption at the local authority.
Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association director Cornelia Selipiwe said council had in the past failed to plug financial leakages in some of its departments.
“The reason why council is now getting into partnership with Harare City Council’s City Parking is because they failed to curb financial leakages in the Gweru parking department.
“So one wonders how they would be able to arrest such leakages in these business ventures. Council does not have consistent business policies that can guarantee them serious business ventures,” Selipiwe said.
He added: “Our worry as residents is that they are widening their corruption base. We have had a lot of corruption issues at council and yet this is the same council now wanting to venture into income-generating projects.”
He said council officials were likely to neglect their core business of service provision as they “jostled to fatten their pockets by dipping their hands into these money spinning ventures”.
But Makombe said council was working on mechanisms to eradicate graft.
“Corruption can only be stopped when you put systems in place in the organisation. We are working flat out so that our system is free from manipulation. We are going to have a loss control team at
In 2014, Go Beer collapsed amid reports of serious looting by council officials.
A forensic land audit conducted last year by the Local Government ministry unearthed corrupt practices at the local authority with council losing millions of dollars in shady land deals.
Council officials in various departments have already been suspended on corruption allegations.
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