IN a rare show of solidarity, Zanu PF and MDC-T councillors in Kwekwe have joined hands to force the council’s management to audit the city’s housing units amid concerns that some of the properties were not on the council register and as such were not being billed for rates.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
The proposal was made by audit committee chairperson Weston Masiya after council’s housing and community services director Newton Dete revealed that Kwekwe only had 17 571 housing units.
Masiya said it was impossible for Kwekwe to have less housing units than Marondera town which in 2012 had 29 000 houses on its register.
“I am certain that the figure presented by the director is understated and propose that there be an audit, internal or external, of all housing units because we honestly can’t have less units than Marondera which is smaller in size,” Masiya said.
Councillors said they were concerned that the local authority could be losing a lot of revenue as some properties were not being billed as they were not formally registered.
City treasurer Rejoice Maweni told council that her team was seized with the matter and was in the process of commissioning an internal audit of all housing units.
“We urge councillors to hold on a bit on that thought because in the finance department we are aware of this matter and therefore looking into it that by end of April we could have begun the audit. We want to make sure that everyone is being billed and if necessary all our budget figures will then be adjusted to meet the figures,” she said.
Dete however defended his figures saying the 17 571 housing units only captured houses which had been completed and issued with certificates of occupation.
“The other housing units at various levels of construction or those without occupation certificates are not included in this report. We do have the number of unfinished properties which are being billed in supplementary charges and other tariffs,” he said.
Councillors and the city’s management team have always accused each other of corruption after a recent audit report by Udcorp revealed that nearly $1 million in ratepayers’ money could have disappeared from council coffers.