Gweru residents have threatened to boycott payment of rates citing numerous cases of revenue leakages, which have affected service delivery.
BY STAFF REPORETER
A recent council internal audit revealed that several point-of-sale (POS) machines were not wiring funds paid by residents into any of the known council bank accounts.
The POS machines are allegedly linked to unknown bank accounts believed to be of senior council officials.
This implies that if a resident uses POS machines to settle their bills, instead of having the money wired into the council bank account, the money goes directly into coffers of individuals.
Millions of dollars could have been lost through such leakages.
An investigation carried out by The Standard in conjunction with the Humanitarian Information Facilitation Centre revealed that enraged residents were now reluctant to settle their bills.
Josiah Makombe, the Gweru mayor, said he was aware of the sentiments among residents.
“I am aware of the complaints of residents in terms of corruption at our council,” Makombe said.
“ As the mayor and indeed the council, we are trying to do our best so that we deal with the issues obviously with the help of law enforcement agents.
“Let it be known that allegations are allegations until they are proven to be true and also those that are accused of wrongdoing are brought to book.”
Cornelia Selipiwe, the Gweru Residents and Rate Payers Association director, said council must come clean on the reports of revenue leakages.
Selipiwe said residents would soon put forward a petition to express their hard feelings.
“We heard the mayor himself speaking on a local radio station saying there are some POS machines siphoning money from council,” he said.
“This is not good at all and residents are not happy.
“We are in the process of putting forward a petition on the issue.
“How can our hard-earned monies benefit a few individuals at the expense of funding service delivery?”
The mayor has been fretting over the depleted revenue collections at council.
He implored residents to shelve their plans of boycotting payment of rates.
“Going forward, I urge our residents to be patient and support the local authority,” Makombe said.
“If they decide not to pay, it means the services they want will also not be met.
“Council is doing all in its powers to being sanity at the local authority.
“Most of the things that you are hearing obviously come from the efforts of councillors who are trying by all means to make sure that all the resources that come to town house are put good use and accounted for.
“So we just want the support of residents to keep paying their bills while we sort out all avenues of revenue leaks.”