Redcliff council defrauding residents!

Source: Redcliff council defrauding residents!

It never rains but pours for residents of the small town of Redcliff.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

 

We face the dilemma of the proverbial smoking pipe – burnt on one end and bitten on the other.

We have not had potable water in our homes for the past three years – with our local authority proffering every excuse under the sun for their unmitigated failures in providing the most basic service.

We have been told of outstanding payments from residents, broken down machinery, electricity challenges, turbidity (when it rains), and endless others.

Not only are residents being denied an essential service, but a constitutionally mandated right.

I will not even dwell on this particular issue since I have already written about it on several occasions.

As if living without potable water at the risk of contracting deadly ancient diseases as cholera was not enough, we are led by a council riddled with corruption.

Again, as I have previously highlighted, there have been numerous reports of the misuse of municipal land – which was exchanged for such things as expensive luxury vehicles and high-end mobile phones for top officials.

These fraudulent activities have repeatedly been flagged by the country’s auditor-general.

This was after the municipality of Redcliff scandalously gave away 21 hectares of our land, in a deal estimated to be worth US$850,000, with a Chinese cement making company (Livetouch Investments).

The murky deal not only violated the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act – by not going to tender – but was highly irregular since Livetouch Investments is not a vehicle supplier.

We have watched, in utter shock, as top officials gave themselves Toyota Fortuner GD6s, four Toyota Hilux, five Nissan NP300 trucks, and others.

Further to this, investigations revealed that the town clerk’s Toyota Fortuner as well as a Toyota Quantum vehicle were invoiced different amounts in excess of the agreed values as per the purchase agreement.

The Toyota Fortuner on purchase agreement was invoiced US$61,727, but the council invoiced US$83,500, resulting in a variance of US$21,773.

The Toyota Quantum on the purchase agreement was invoiced US$41,034, which later shot up to US$50,465 on actual payment made, showing a US$9,431 variance.

Further investigations by corruption watchdog, Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA), exposed even more to the rot.

A whistle-blower claimed that Toyota Fortuner GD6 vehicles were not procured from Toyota Zimbabwe but instead from an individual linked to a top official in the council.

When asked, Toyota Zimbabwe has denied any such transaction with the municipality of Redcliff – contrary to the local authority’s assertions.

A national publication, NewsHawks, also reported that a company called Storey Marketing Hardware, which supplies protective clothing, wrote a letter to the municipality requesting the amounts owed to it to be paid by allocation of stands, and the local authority agreed.

The value of the transaction was ZW$537,113 – and a low-density residential stand number 3929 measuring 1,300 square meters was allocated.

There are more reports of land being awarded to several councilors and officials in rather dubious circumstances.

It is widely believed that quite a number of officials are now owners of stands throughout Redcliff under questionable deals.

The apparent graft by the municipality appears to now have been targeted at residents who are receiving fraudulent bills.

I, as many other residents, keep receiving bills that defy all logic.

My December 2023 invoice had an outrageous amount totaling US$154 – with a ridiculously insane US$87 in water charges, despite the fact that we have gone for three years without the precious liquid.

Only after registering my outrage with the finance director was the bill eventually recalculated and reduced – after which I paid the new amount in full on 8th January 2024.

Yet yesterday, only two months later, I received the February 2024 bill containing more shocks.

This time around, the municipality claims that I owe for the past three months

How can I possibly have outstanding payments stretching three months when I paid every cent in full only two months ago?

I, again, had to lodge my disgruntlement and utter displeasure with the finance director, who promised to look into the issue today.

I await to hear the verdict.

On top of that, I never received my January 2024 invoice, in spite of making several inquiries with the finance department.

I can only just imagine how much the municipality is defrauding Redcliff residents each month.

Let us remember that not all of us are able to quickly figure out these discrepancies and flaws in our bills, and most people will simply pay what is shown.

What more, we are being made to pay for services that are not being provided.

In all this, ordinary residents are living in danger of cholera due to uncollected refuse and lack of potable water.

An unacceptably high number of roads are impassible, whilst numerous areas have no street lights – leading to an increase in burglaries.

In so doing, not only do we have to pay the municipality for nothing in return, but we also have to fork out loads of dollars in buying water from those with private boreholes.

Yet our town fathers and mothers are more concerned about looting our resources for their own aggrandizement and comfort.

This has to be stopped.

It is about time residents showed some teeth by standing up against these deplorable injustices, which are driven by pure greed and cruelty.

Endless talking and meetings held in bad faith will not take us anywhere.

There is own a need for tangible action.

We can not keep folding our arms while somehow expecting the situation to improve on its own.

Enough is enough!

  • Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: mbofana.tendairuben73@gmail.com, or visit website: https://mbofanatendairuben.news.blog/

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