Bulawayo town clerk mine allocation raises dust
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.