BULAWAYO mayor councillor Solomon Nguni is preparing for life outside council as he has already requested to purchase the mayoral pool vehicle at a give-away price of US$16 494 as his exit package.
Clr Mguni (Ward 23) was elected in September 2018 and his first term in office is drawing to an end as harmonised elections loom.
Zimbabwe is set to hold elections between July and August this year.
The mayor made the request for the car to take home through a letter to the town clerk, Mr Christopher Dube.
According to a council confidential report of the General Purposes Committee dated 24 April titled “Request by his worship, the Mayor, Councillor S Mguni to purchase a mayoral pool car at the end of mayoral term,” the mayor said his term is ending at the end of July this year.
“You will recall that council had previously sold mayoral pool vehicles to outgoing mayors upon the termination of their mandate. The current 2018-2023 municipal term is terminating on or about 31 July 2023,” wrote Clr Mguni.
“Pursuant to set precedent, I hereby write to you requesting that council considers selling one of the mayoral pool vehicles to me upon the termination of this municipal term of office. The said sale being subject to such terms and conditions consistent with practice established by council over years. Thanking you in advance for your usual co-operation.”
However, Clr Mguni, according to the report said he will not drive home a mayoral Mercedes Benz as it has broken down. Instead, he has been offered to purchase a Toyota Hilux Double Cab at the depreciated value of US$16 494.
As per tradition, exiting mayors are offered an opportunity to purchase one of the mayoral pool cars as exit packages.
For instance, on 7 November 2018 council resolved to offer Clr Mguni’s predecessor, Mr Martin Moyo a choice between a Mazda BT50 valued at $3 000,00 or the Chevrolet Trailblazer at the depreciated value of $14 732,00.
The vehicle was supposed to be fully serviced upon offer.
According to council, Mr Moyo elected to purchase the Chevrolet Trailblazer and it was sold to him at $14 732,00.
Added to that, a special council meeting that sat on 26 June 2013 resolved that former mayor, Clr Thaba Moyo be offered the official mayoral car he was using as an exit package. He was sold a Dodge at $7 000,00 as per the then Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development’s, Dr Ignatius Chombo’s instruction.
During a discussion focusing on Clr Mguni’s request, councillors said it is key for council “to adhere to the precedence that had already been set by the previous mayors.”
“Alderman S Khumalo sought clarity on the vehicle that had been selected for the mayor to purchase at the end of his term. He wanted to know why only one vehicle had been identified unlike in the previous years where the committee had the option to select one vehicle from a fleet of two or more cars,” reads the report.
“The Deputy Mayor (Councillor Mlandu Ncube) felt that a uniform policy that included all councillors had to be adopted. He further stated that the vehicle that had been recommended was not in the mayoral pool, it had only been brought in as a relief measure because the Mercedes Benz which was being used by the mayor had broken down.”
Based on the report, Clr Ncube felt that the purchase price that had been proposed by council management was very little for the car that had been identified and council would be condemned by its stakeholders for giving away a service delivery vehicle.
He urged the committee not to expose both council and the mayor to public scrutiny.
In response, the Town Clerk advised that an alternative vehicle had been selected because there was currently one vehicle in the mayoral pool and it required constant servicing as it was in a dilapidated state.
“He stated that the mayor’s conditions of service were different from those of an ordinary councillor. He further advised the committee to adopt a standing resolution on this matter and Ministerial approval would be sought thereafter.”
After the deliberations, the committee resolved “That His Worship the Mayor (Councillor S Mguni) be offered the Toyota Hilux Double Cab at the end of his term of office at the depreciated value of US$16 494.