VICTORIA FALLS Town Council has failed to regularise the use of land along the Zambezi River corridor and as a result the local authority is reportedly losing millions of dollars in uncollected tax for some of the properties.
Report by Richard Muponde
Last year, council resolved that land and properties be regularised so that the cash-strapped local authority, which has been struggling to pay its workers, starts collecting revenue from tenants.
According to minutes of a council audit committee meeting deliberated upon on Tuesday during a full council meeting, councillors were not happy with the snail pace at which the revenue collection strategy was being implemented.
“Members felt that the issue was not being treated with the urgency it deserved taking into consideration that it is now nine months to a year without any concrete results. Council is supposed to get revenue from the said pieces of land,” it was noted.
“Members suggested that the acting town clerk (Philip Ndlovu) should expedite tackling the issues by council on land along the Zambezi corridor.”
Tuesday’s meeting recommended that the acting town clerk should present a report during the next audit meeting on the issue.
The council has been losing millions of dollars in revenue since 1999 when it gained town status due to a flawed data base of its properties.
Last year an audit revealed that there were a number of council properties which were being sublet by individuals with the local authority getting nothing from the tenants.
The situation has gravely affected the council’s operations, which has seen it failing to pay its 300 employees in time.
Employees have engaged in sporadic strikes to demand payment and the matter last year went to court.
The strikes have paralysed service delivery in the town.
Council has been facing difficulties in meeting its wage bill, which has ballooned to over $300 000 per month against a monthly revenue of less than $270 000.
Last year in July, employees took their employer to the Labour Court in Hwange where a certificate of settlement was issued under case number ML 14/06/12.
Victoria Falls mayor Nkosilathi Jiyane yesterday could not be reached for comment on the matter.