RESIDENTS have submitted their objections to the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) over a proposed land offer to the Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni, amid revelations that two council directors are also set to benefit from the scheme.
There was a public outcry last week after the local authority offered Clr Mguni a 3,5-hectare piece of agricultural land in Lower Rangemore under a 25-year lease at $165 per month rent.
However, according to a council report it has since emerged that the city’s director of financial affairs, Mr Kimpton Ndimande and the city health director, Dr Edwin Sibanda are also set to benefit from a similar facility. Mr Ndimande is set to get a 3,5-hectare piece of land also at $165 per month while Dr Sibanda will get a three-hectare piece of land, paying $150 per month.
“A number of individuals had applied for urban agricultural plots among them namely his worship the Mayor Solomon Mguni, Dr Edwin Sibanda and Mr Kimpton Ndimande. This had prompted further sub-division of Lot three Lower Rangemore to create more urban agricultural plots namely Lot two of Lot three Lower Rangemore, Lot three of Lot three Lower Rangemore and Remainder of Lot three Lower Rangemore.
“The stands shall be used for urban agricultural activities only. The leases shall be for an initial period of 25 years subject to review and were to be properly fenced and gated. All costs related to this application shall be borne by the applicant with no permanent structures being erected on the leased piece of land and all developments on the said pieces of land shall be in accordance with the council by-laws,” reads the council report.
The land that is being offered to the three was reportedly repossessed from a Mr P Phakathi in 2010 for failure to develop.
Meanwhile, residents through the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) wrote to the local authority to object on the land offer to Clr Mguni. In their objection, the residents noted that the mayor used his privileged access of information to make an application for the said property. The residents claimed that this was an illegitimate deal that promotes clientelism, patronage and capture.
“BPRA is further concerned by the continued reliance of outdated by-laws by Bulawayo City Council. These by-laws continue to be used for partial justification for corruption gains. As such, while the process might have satisfied both legal and institutional provisions, BPRA contends that unjust rules cannot guarantee just outcomes.
“It will be a betrayal of public trust for the mayor to be given such a huge piece of land at a time when the majority of the residents that the mayor represents are landless and have been victims of social injustice for many years. This act is a subset of injustice and a violation of the obligations of fairness for private gain and a betrayal of public trust for the mayor to be granted this property for a period of 25 years,” reads the objection. – Sunday News