BULAWAYO — The son of Mines and Mining Development minister, Obert Mpofu, has been dragged to court for failure to pay land tax to the Lupane council in Matabeleland North.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The Kusile Rural District Council (RDC) handed over Jabulani Mpofu to its lawyers last week to try and recover US$500 that he owes the struggling local authority.
Jabulani runs Dete valley Lot 1 farm in Matabeleland North province.
Jabulani is among other top Zanu-PF officials, including Bulawayo Metropolitan governor, Cain Mathema, that have not been paying land tax and have since been dragged before the courts.
According to documents from the Kusile RDC, Jabulani, Zanu-PF officials, chiefs and government bureaucrats owe the local authority close to US$60 000.
The council has invoked Section 151 and 198, Chapter 29:14 of the Rural District Councils Act to sue the debtors.
Matshobane Ncube of Phulu Ncube Legal Practitioners confirmed that Lupane council had engaged them to recover money from Jabulani and other defaulters.
“We have already issued summons to those that owe the Lupane council,” Ncube said.
The failure by Mpofu’s son and other government officials to pay land tax for their respective farms is crippling council operations, Keyani Mpofu, the Lupane council’s finance chairperson said.
Mpofu said Lupane council was failing to develop the Matabeleland North capital because of such defaulters.
“The RDC l Act is clear that all defaulters are supposed to be taken to court,” he said.
“The council survives on revenue it generates from land taxes and royalties. If these are not paid, council operations are choked and service delivery is greatly affected.”
Mpofu said council resorted to legal action as debtors were ignoring notices calling on them to make payment plans or clear the debts altogether.
Council documents show that some of the debtors include Zanu PF bigwigs like politburo member, Jacob Mudenda, Jonathan Mathuthu (husband of Matabeleland North governor Thokozile Mathuthu), Bubi MP and party provincial secretary for administration, Clifford Sibanda, provincial administrator, Latiso Dlamini, as well as Lupane district administrator, Christopher Chuma.
Chiefs Mabhikwa and Dingani also owe the local authority.
Most of them are beneficiaries of the land reform programme.
Efforts to get a comment from Jabulani and other defaulters were not successful.