The Bulawayo City Council has piled blame on Local Governance, Rural and Urban Development Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo for costing the local authority $6 million which it is owed to them by defaulters.
Addressing residents during a consultative meeting on the amendment of the Urban Councils Act on Friday, Deputy Mayor Amen Mpofu said Chombo was protecting grocery shop operators who have not paid rentals to council on “political grounds.”
“This initiative to lease local businesspeople our premises was an empowerment drive, I guess the first of its nature, but now this is proving to be a loss on our part because now the matter is political,” said Mpofu.
“Some businesspeople have turned this issue to a political one and Chombo had to intervene using his powers vested in the Urban Councils Act to protect the defaulters on political grounds.
“Now we cannot claim that money because Chombo is against us from doing so. Surely the city cannot development,” said Mpofu.
Buhera Central MP Tangwara Matimba recently lashed out at Chombo for abusing the act to his good, and as such there was a need to amend the act sooner that later.
He called for the amendment of the act to reduce the powers of Chombo and central government over municipal and town councils thereby encouraging democracy at local levels in the Urban Councils Amendment Bill.