Thursday, 29 April 2021

VIC FALLS TOWN CLERK SUSPENDED

VICTORIA Falls Mayor Councillor Somveli Dlamini has suspended the city’s town clerk Mr Ronnie Dube accusing him of corruption, gross incompetence, abuse of office and causing the local authority to lose revenue.

About a year ago the mayor recommended the ouster of Mr Dube but the recommendation did not secure the support of other councillors.

A suspension letter seen by Chronicle dated April 28, 2021 and signed by Cllr Dlamini, and copied to Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo, Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo and council security stated that the suspension is with immediate effect and without pay or benefits.

However, Mr Dube was in his office the whole day and attended a General-Purpose Committee meeting with other councillors in the boardroom. Cllr Dlamini did not attend the meeting.

The suspension letter reads in part: “It appears to me there are acts of misconduct or omission inconsistent with the fulfilment of the express or implied conditions of your contract or duties that needs to be investigated. It is prudent that you are suspended from duty and office of Town Clerk in order to pave way for investigations which when concluded will guide council on the course of action to take.

“Accordingly, by copy of this letter I suspend you from office in terms of Section 139(3) (a) of the Urban Council Act Chapter 29:15 with immediate effect and the suspension is without salary or benefit as encapsulated in Section 139(5)(b) of the said Act. For the avoidance of doubt, you are required to surrender immediately the council vehicle, laptop and cellphone allocated to you to the office of the Mayor,” reads part of the letter.

It further stated that Mr Dube will continue residing at a council house but will not be allowed to report for duty, enter any council premises or purport to act on behalf of council to clients or employees during the suspension.

Interference or violation of any of the stipulated condition will result in further charges, said Cllr Dlamini in the letter.

Contacted for comment, Cllr Dlamini confirmed drafting the letter but could not be drawn into giving details on the allegations. The matter has not been discussed at full council.

“I can confirm that the TC has been suspended with immediate effect pending investigation by both Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Special Unit and council on allegations levelled against him ranging from corruption to abuse of office, gross incompetence and leading to financial loss by the institution. He is not guilty until proven by the investigation and any other competent court and the charge sheet will follow by Monday and we expect cooperation from him,” said Cllr Dlamini.

He said what necessitated the suspension is the fact that ethically whenever an investigation is instituted against an officer or any other person, he or she has to vacate office to pave way for investigations without prejudice, interference or intimidation whatsoever.

“I can’t give further detail on the allegations since it’s under investigations and don’t want to pre-empt the outcome of the investigations.

The public is advised to exercise restraint during this time and council will continue providing services as normal,” he said.

 

The Mayor said Chamber Secretary Ms Kholwani Mangena will be acting Town Clerk until the matter is finalised.

However, Mr Dube said he had not been served with the letter of suspension and said he will continue executing his duties.

“As far as I am concerned, I haven’t been served and I didn’t receive any letter from him hence as you can see, I am in office. I am just coming from a GPC meeting with other councillors and will continue doing my work as normal.

“I am preparing to go for an awards ceremony in Harare which he is also attending and if I am suspended, where would he send his papers for signing,” said Mr Dube.

The two are supposed to be in Harare today to attend the local authorities’ leadership appreciation awards ceremony where Mr Dube has been nominated for two awards in the well managed city category.

Mr Dube joined Victoria Falls City on December 1, 2016 replacing Mr Christopher Dube who became Bulawayo Town Clerk.

The council renewed his contract in October last year when Cllr Dlamini said all due processes had been followed and the local authority was satisfied with his work. Chronicle

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