Suspended town clerk gets windfall

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

VICTORIA Falls city fathers have resolved to pay suspended town clerk Ronnie Dube $200 000 in allowances, about $80 000 more than his basic salary,  it has been established.

Dube was suspended on April 28 by mayor Somveli Dlamini on charges of gross incompetence, corruption, abuse of office and causing the local authority to lose revenue.

He was suspended without pay and other benefits pending investigations into charges against him.

Dlamini cited Section 139 (3) (a) of the Urban Council Act in denying Dube any salary and benefits as stated in the contract.

Councillors, however, revoked his suspension arguing the mayor acted unilaterally, but Local Government minister July Moyo in a follow-up memo dated May 14 confirmed the suspension.

Moyo’s communication followed Dube’s arrest and subsequent release on $50 000 bail on criminal of abuse of office charges.

The local authority is yet to investigate Dube on the slew of charges he faces, according to the latest minutes of a full council meeting where city fathers deliberated on setting up a commission of inquiry.

According to the report of the full council meeting held on June 1 spilling over to the next day, Victoria Falls city fathers also resolved to pay Dube $200 000 in allowances whilst on suspension.

“The human resources official (HRO) advised the meeting that since council suspended the town clerk in terms of the Urban Council’s Act wherein there is no provision for the payment of a salary and benefits, but an allowance that council should fix, it would be a better option to proceed using the Urban Council’s Act,” the report reads in part.

The suspension of Dube, a former Tsholotsho Rural District CEO, came a month after the local authority renewed his contract by another five years after receiving “praise for his work ethic.”

“For the sake of clarity, Section 139 subsection (5) stipulates that during the period of his suspension, he shall not be entitled to his salary or wages in respect of that period, but he may be paid such an allowance, not exceeding the amount of his salary or wages, as the council may fix,” the report adds.

“A member wanted to know the town clerk’s salary so they could fix his allowance.

“The HRO noted that the current basic salary is $115 337, 50 and the net is $226 319, 21.

“A member proposed that the town clerk be given a flat allowance of $200 000 subject to tax.

“The proposal was seconded. It was agreed that the town clerk’s suspension conditions be amended to allow suspension with a flat monthly allowance.”

Under Dube, Victoria Falls was granted a city status in December 2020 to become the first city in Matabeleland North and the second after Bulawayo in the whole southern region.

Dube served as Victoria Falls’ first chamber secretary between 2002 and 2005.

He joined the local authority on  December 2016 1replacing Christopher Dube, the current Bulawayo town clerk.

Dube, who also served as the Gwanda municipality chamber secretary, and left the Tsholotsho RDC under a cloud following reports of corruption that were levelled against him.

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