Residents outraged as council auctions bus for ZW$20 000

MASVINGO residents are up in arms with the city council after the
local authority sold a functioning bus for a paltry ZW$20 000 at an
auction which was held without their knowledge.

The 75-seater AVM bus, which was used by the council to ferry workers to
work was auctioned by a local auctioneer in November last month in a
move described by residents as corrupt. The residents accuse top
council officials of failing to disclose the person who bought the
vehicle.

This came at a time when residents are paying hefty monthly bills, yet
the local authority is failing to deliver vital services like water
supplies, refuse collection, as well as road maintenance.

Masvingo City Council mayor Collen Maboke (pictured) told The
NewsHawks that he will only issue a statement after receiving a full
report from the auctioneer who was hired to sell the bus. He
however said that it is true that the bus was sold in local currency
instead of foreign currency which the councillors had instructed
council management to do.

“We discussed this issue as councilors recently, but we requested for
a full report from the management. At the moment I cannot tell you the
actual amount which was realised from the bus, but I can confirm that
it was sold in local currency. The charging of the bus in local
currency is not what we agreed as councillors, but I only issue a
statement after receiving a report from the auctioneer whom I can
identify as Mugure,” Maboke said.

Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance (MURRA)
spokesperson Godfrey Mtimba told The NewsHawks that it is shocking to
note that a bus which was part of council’s critical equipment was
sold for a paltry fee in a move which residents suspect involved
senior management at the local authority.

He said council should divulge the name of the person who bought the
bus and in future they should inform residents before taking such
decisions.

“As the biggest residents’ association in Masvingo, we are appalled
by the decision taken by council to auction such a bus during an
auction held secretly for a paltry fee. We suspect that this move is
just a tip of bigger corrupt deals taking place at our local authority
as indicators are showing us that the one who won the bid is amongst
council officials. We demand a full explanation from council and they
should furnish us with details of the person who bought it.

“The bus was useful as it used to carry council employees to work and
it was also used to ferry mourners during bereavements of council
workers. It was also hired out to several people, bringing the
much-needed money to council. We therefore urge council to reverse the
auction since the money collected cannot even buy a wheel for the
bus,” Mtimba said.

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