via Kasukuwere orders audit of council businesses | The Herald September 8, 2015 by Innocent Ruwende
Harare City Council’s businesses must be audited since only one seems reasonably profitable, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has ordered. These businesses include the city’s farms, nursery, real estate (Rufaro Marketing Property Asset), hospitality and parks. Among its business ventures, only City Parking has been declaring reasonable dividends to council.
Minister Kasukuwere confirmed last week that he had called for such an audit. “I can confirm we have directed for an audit to be carried out on all city’s business ventures,” he said without giving further details. Sources in the ministry, however, said Minister Kasukuwere was concerned that money from such ventures was being abused since it was not being channelled to the city’s coffers.
Recently, the city said it would soon terminate all joint venture agreements whose implementation has not taken off or have implementation challenges. Among the projects under the spotlight were the upgrading of Rufaro Stadium, refurbishment of Harare Quarry, capitalisation of the city’s farms and the development of Mupedzanhamo Phase Two.
According to the business committee minutes of February 27, councillors noted with concern the slow implementation of joint venture projects that had been approved and signed with partners. “The committee also expressed concern that status reports had not been submitted to the committee,” read the committee’s minutes.
Some of the projects were critical to service delivery, hence implementation of such projects could not be delayed any longer.
“The committee singled out the following projects among others as critical: quarry refurbishment, upgrading of Rufaro, upgrading of farms, the development of a civic centre and the development of Mupedzanhamo Phase two. (It) tasked the town clerk to submit status reports on implementation of these projects.”
Last year, Savanna expressed its interest in revamping Rufaro Stadium and transforming it into a modern sports ground, with state-of-the-art facilities, pledging to invest $10 million into the deal.
The Harare Municipal Workers Union has also questioned where income from cattle sales was going. “We discovered that cattle are being transferred in the middle of the night allegedly without relevant documentation and sold without particulars and clearances required,” the workers’ committee said. “Over a thousand cattle have been sold this way and we have the video evidence of the interviews conducted with the workers.”
The city denies the claims by the workers’ committee as baseless.