Masvingo residents have expressed concern over the city council’s decision to buy luxury vehicles for top officials worth over $500,000 when the local authority cannot provide essential services like water.
The city council angered residents when it placed an advert in a local newspaper seeking tenders for the supply of canopies, bumpers and meg wheel at a cost of $22,000 for Mazda BT50s bought for council management last month.
The residents are fuming that they were not consulted when the city council bought the vehicles and to make matters worse the local authority wants to spend more money on vehicle accessories when it cannot provide necessary services to local people.
Tryson Gavi of Runyararo West high density suburb said it is improper for the city council to seek tenders for the supply of canopies, bumper stickers and other items while it cannot cater for the needs of local ratepayers.
Gavi said, “The city council does not have the residents at heart. How can they use such huge of amounts to please few individuals when service delivery is diminishing? They should consider us residents first and prioritize serious issues, the roads are in bad shape, water is still a problem and they rush to buy cars.”
Residents feel that the city council should have used the money to boost water supplies as some households go for a long time without water these days.
They also noted that the local roads, clinics and education facilities needed to be upgraded due to the fact that some of them are in a bad state as a result of lack of financial resources.
Another resident, Jefferson Chitando of Mucheke, said the council is abusing residents’ money and called on for the local authority to be accountable.
“They are abusing the road levy paid by residents and we want them to account for this. This is true evidence that the councillors are abusing money and are not worth to be returned,” said Chitando.
Other residents questioned the rationale of buying the expensive vehicles when the city council is also struggling to collect refuse because it has only two functional garbage collection trucks for a city with about 100,000 people.
But Masvingo Mayor, Hubert Fidze, defended the decision saying the council is trying to please local residents while catering for the needs of its management.
“We have since bought another refuse compacter and it will be delivered soon. We are not prioritising vehicles for managers but we are simply trying to balance with service delivery and we are doing well in that,” said Fidze.
Masvingo United Residents and Rate Payers Association director, Anoziva Muguti, said the residents’ body is worried about what the council is doing.
“We are very worried by the way council is expending our resources. Buying those vehicles at the expense of service delivery left us wondering as to which direction the council wants to take the city to,” said Muguti.
Residents have vowed to force the council to stop looking for vehicle accessories for city council managers and concentrate on providing services for ratepayers.