Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
LOCAL Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo has suspended Victoria Falls Town Clerk Ronnie Dube saying this will help stabilise operations of the city and avoid scaring away tourists or investors pending finalisation of criminal allegations against him.
Dube was arrested last week on charges of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer before being released on $50 000 bail early this week.
He continued executing his duties after his release following a resolution by councillors to reverse the suspension by the Mayor Councillor Somveli Dlamini a fortnight ago.
Minister Moyo visited the city on Thursday and implored councillors and management to work together for the benefit of the city, which he said is key to the Government’s economic growth trajectory.
“We want to bring sanity so that the city continues to work on a trajectory that will enhance the attraction of tourists. Given that the President came here to receive the Freedom of City and that he upgraded it from a municipality to a city and came here to demonstrate that this is the city where we want tourists to come by being vaccinated here, the city has now attained herd immunity,” said the Minister.
“Anything that the council will do that can jeopardise this thrust that Government has, I needed to nip it in the bud. So, once you have a Town Clerk of a city like this being investigated by the law courts then we have to stabilise the management and we have stabilised by saying there should be an acting Town Clerk while he (Town Clerk) is dealing with his issues.”
The Chamber Secretary Ms Kholwani Mangena will be acting Town Clerk.
The city council has been under fire especially from residents who have been pushing for a review of the 2021 budget which they said was not pro-people.
Cllr Dlamini suspended Dube twice since last year, but fellow councillors on both occasions reversed the decision and reinstated the Town Clerk.
Minister Moyo recently wrote to council ordering management to justify its desire to review the budget downwards.
He said he visited Victoria Falls to encourage councillors and management “to work together as a team because they are professionals.”
“So that’s why I came to encourage the councillors to work together with officials who are remaining even if the Town Clerk is suspended to work very closely with each other and not wait for the Town Clerk who is not there,” said Minister Moyo.
On the budget issue, the Minister said Government will not dictate to council and encouraged the city fathers to find a win-win solution that will be beneficial to ratepayers and also enhance service delivery.
“I know that there are issues related to the budget process, people and business here are under pressure and we understand that. They will do a supplementary budget and look at all possibilities of how they can overcome the issues that people are raising.
“I am not going to be prescribing anything but I think that councillors and officials know the pressure that people have here. They want to survive and facilities want to survive too but the city must also survive so that it continues to attract tourists,” said Minister Moyo.
He said his visit was also to remind the local authority that Government is taking all its issues into cognisance which is why it has allocated $105 million for the city’s roads maintenance.
He said Government also sent independent engineers to look at the city’s water system following a directive by President Mnangagwa in December last year for the Zimbabwe National Water Authority to hand over management rights to the city.
He said the idea is to ensure that the cost of water is reduced as this has been contentious for a long time in the city. — @ncubeleon