While Bulawayo residents are living with choked sewer pipes and perennial water shortages blamed for a recent diarrhoea outbreak, the council’s top 20 officials have awarded themselves hefty loans to buy luxury vehicles using a 1982 resolution, it emerged this week.
According to a confidential report leaked to NewsDay, the council’s financial director, Kempton Ndimande, released a schedule of the list of luxury vehicles the departmental heads would be driving around town when service delivery has hit rock bottom.
A few weeks ago, councillors blocked a resolution to award loans for luxury vehicles to departmental heads. But, the latter disregarded the move and proceeded to acquire the vehicles.
The vehicles have already been ordered and delivery has started with Ndimande and housing and community services manager Isaiah Magagula having received their Toyota Fortuner (registration number SR 01027) and Toyota Prado (registration number SR 97630) respectively.
The cash-strapped council splashed $102 571 on Magagula’s Toyota Prado while the Toyota Fortuner cost $58 917, 74.
According to the document, town clerk Middleton Nyoni will soon be cruising in the most expensive vehicle compared to his council counterparts with a slick Land Rover valued at $115 098,59 while the director of health Zanele Elphie Hwalima will also get a Toyota Prado.
Engineering services director Simela Dube will take delivery of a $52 735 Ford Everest 3 OTDC while the chamber secretary Sikhangele Zhou will get an all-terrain Toyota Hilux valued at $46 320.
Outgoing human resources manager Joel Madubeko will get a $46 320 Toyota Hilux Raider.
Apart from the directors, their deputies and other senior managers have also ordered vehicles, mainly Toyota Hilux and Toyota Fortuner models. A senior manager, only identified as P Ikeogu, is earmarked to take a VW Toareq worth $81 026,57 while deputy director of housing Dictor Khumalo will be cruising in a Land Cruiser valued at $59 590.
The managers will repay the vehicles over a period of 90 months at 6% interest per year.
Councillors complained that while it was part of their benefits, the procurement of the luxury cars was ill-timed considering the council’s limited cashflow.
Council is reportedly battling to acquire water treatment chemicals after Unicef withdrew supplies.
Last year, residents’ tempers flared after council splashed over $60 000 on the mayoral Dodge Journey when water purification, among many challenges, had not been addressed.
Bulawayo Mayor Thaba Moyo could not be reached for comment yesterday as he was reportedly out of the office the whole day.
But a fortnight ago, Moyo confirmed the cars were bought although the resolution had been set aside pending improvement in service delivery.
Council spokesperson Bongiwe Ngwenya yesterday said the vehicles were purchased for management through a loan scheme.
“Personal vehicles are purchased to ensure that council staff do not use the vehicles which are for service delivery. The city has also purchased 14 service delivery vehicles and three refuse compactors and we are expecting that more service delivery vehicles will be purchased during the course of the year,” she said.