Thursday, 30 April 2020

COUNCILLORS HOARDING MEALIE MEAL FACE ARREST


THE National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has warned councilors that are reportedly hoarding subsidised mealie meal and later reselling it at inflated prices that they face arrest.

Speaking on Wednesday during a meeting in Gwanda which was attended by councilors, law enforcement agents and the Matabeleland South provincial taskforce on Covid-19, NPRC Commissioner, Leslie Ncube said the commission had received reports from concerned residents about unscrupulous activities by councilors and their committees.

He said the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) had started investigating the matter and culprits will be brought to book.

“For the past week, we received letters from residents who are complaining of exorbitant prices of subsidised mealie meal. Councilors and their committees which were selected to administer the process of buying mealie meal have been fingered in these corrupt activities. Districts were advised to create committees that will spearhead the process of distributing mealie meal but councilors have been accused of nepotism in the selection of committees so that mealie meal isn’t distributed transparently,” he said. 

“Reports are coming to us that councilors and their committees are hoarding subsidised mealie meal which they later resell at exorbitant prices. We were given house numbers where some of these councilors are stocking the mealie meal. They are selling some of the mealie meal in Rands. May this serve as a warning to you, if you know that as a councilor this is what you have been doing make sure that from here you address this anomaly. ZACC is already seized with this matter and soon they will descend on the culprits, so take this as your first and final warning.”

Comm Ncube said some councillors have been arrested in other provinces for corruption.

“As councilors you are holding public office and you are not here to profiteer from this process. The process should be open and transparent,” he said.

Comm Ncube said the purpose of the subsidised mealie meal was not to extort people but to feed the nation. He said Government has a special interest in mealie meal supply as it was concerned with food security in communities. The NPRC commissioner said the country recorded a poor farming season and as a result about 8 million people had been rendered food insecure hence Government had introduced subsidised mealie meal to ensure food security. 

Comm Ncube said similar problems were being faced in Bulawayo hence the new strategy of door to door delivery of mealie meal. He urged Matabeleland South Province to adopt a similar strategy in order to eliminate unscrupulous leaders who sought to benefit at the expense of people’s welfare.

Speaking at the same meeting, NPRC chairperson, Retired Judge Justice Selo Nare said he had noted with great concern where he stays in Bulawayo that the same people were buying mealie meal on several consecutive days which they later resold at exorbitant prices. He said councilors had been entrusted with the role of ensuring that mealie meal was distributed fairly regardless of political affiliation and they had to fulfil this role.

Rtd Justice Nare said councilors and other leaders have to take the meeting as a warning before ZACC took action. He also urged people to ensure that the vulnerable members of the community are catered for under mealie meal distribution.

Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs Minister, Cde Abednico Ncube urged various stakeholders to adhere to the regulations that had been set for distribution of subsidised mealie meal.Chronicle

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