Bu­l­awayo town clerk mine al­lo­ca­tion raises dust

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Vusumuzi Dube Mu­nic­i­pal Re­porter

BU­L­AWAYO city Town Clerk Mr Christo­pher Dube could lose a min­ing claim he was awarded at a coun­cil-owned farm — Aisleby — as coun­cil­lors and other stake­hold­ers are re­port­edly not happy cit­ing he could have used his in­flu­ence in the deal.

It is said coun­cil of­fi­cials and some coun­cil­lors have now de­ferred the is­su­ing of lease agree­ments to Mr Dube with the pos­si­bil­ity of can­celling the res­o­lu­tion to­tally.

Mr Dube, through his com­pany Bel­mac In­vest­ments, was awarded min­ing claims that are lo­cated at the coun­cilowned Aisleby farm. He was meant to share the claim to­gether with BDP In­vest­ments.

Also in­cluded in the res­o­lu­tion was Min­istry of Lo­cal Govern­ment, Pub­lic Works and Na­tional Hous­ing per­ma­nent sec­re­tary, En­gi­neer George Mlilo and Mr Mn­gane Ncube who both won claims at an­other coun­cilowned farm; Good Hope.

How­ever, it is the Aisleby farm min­ing claims that is giv­ing coun­cil­lors a headache amid rev­e­la­tions that the lo­cal au­thor­ity has re­ceived a num­ber of complaints all chal­leng­ing the award.

Among the complaints is BDP In­vest­ments which was meant to share the claims with Mr Dube, which is al­leg­ing that the town clerk went be­hind the com­pany’s back to go peg his claims, tak­ing a huge chunk of the farm.

Con­firm­ing the re­cent de­vel­op­ments, the act­ing chair­per­son of coun­cil’s Town Lands and Plan­ning com­mit­tee, Coun­cil­lor Thabitha Ng­wenya, said they had de­cided to or­der coun­cil of­fi­cials to in­ves­ti­gate the al­le­ga­tions which were be­ing raised and the le­gal im­pli­ca­tions.

“Yes, we re­ceived a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of complaints, which made us as coun­cil­lors re­alise that there is no smoke with­out fire there­fore, we have or­dered the di­rec­tors to look into it and give us a full re­port so we de­cide whether we can­cel the award or not,” said Clr Ng­wenya.

Im­pec­ca­ble coun­cil sources re­vealed that the lo­cal au­thor­ity was faced with at least two law­suits over the min­ing claims hence the con­sid­er­a­tion to re­verse the res­o­lu­tion.

“While we are not re­ally wor­ried about the other complaints, our con­cern is with the BDP In­vest­ments’ al­le­ga­tions that the town clerk went be­hind the com­pany’s back to peg his claim, tak­ing a larger part of the farm.

“Nor­mally the two should have been awarded the of­fer let­ter at once and then gone to dis­cuss on the peg­ging at the site. How­ever, BDP is al­leg­ing that Mr Dube used his in­flu­ence to get the of­fer let­ter and rush to the farm to peg, which we feel was gross in­sub­or­di­na­tion,” said the source.

Other complaints — ac­cord­ing to the source — which were tabled to coun­cil­lors in­clude that the lo­cal au­thor­ity did not fol­low pro­ce­dure in award­ing the claims al­leg­ing that the mere fact that Mr Dube got the claims prove that the whole process was bi­ased.

Ac­cord­ing to a coun­cil re­port a to­tal of 33 ap­pli­cants ex­pressed in­ter­est in tak­ing up the claims within the two farms of which just 19 were re­spon­sive, with the list be­ing re­duced to the eight that were pre­sented be­fore coun­cil.

At Good Hope Farm the claims were ini­tially awarded to Clr Moyo, Eng Mlilo, Mr Ncube and Ms Nokuthanda Ma­suku, while at Aisleby farm the claims had ini­tially been awarded to Mr Dube’s Bel­mac In­vest­ments, BDP In­vest­ments, BCC rangers and Ms No­math­emba Tshuma.

The is­sue raised dust a cou­ple of months ago when Mr Dube was barred from tak­ing up the gold claim by coun­cil­lors say­ing the min­ing claim should ben­e­fit the city and not an in­di­vid­ual.

The coun­cil­lors sug­gested the mine should be ad­ver­tised through the in­vi­ta­tion of in­ter­ested par­ties to bid for the project.

The lo­cal au­thor­ity is on record say­ing min­ing is not coun­cil’s core ac­tiv­ity, but its main role is to pro­vide an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment for busi­ness, in­clud­ing mines to thrive, hence they were not go­ing to take up min­ing as a pos­si­ble ven­ture.

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