MATABELELAND North governor Sithokozile Mathuthu has started relocating from Bulawayo to Lupane, the Matabeleland provincial capital.
Mathuthu was operating from Mhlahlandlela Governm
ent Complex in Bulawayo and commuting to Lupane at the taxpayers’ expense in travel allowances.
Government set November 1 as the deadline for Mathuthu and other departments to relocate to Lupane.
Mathuthu this week confirmed that she was relocating to the provincial capital of Matabeleland North.
“I think it is fair for us to relocate and start working from the provincial capital,” she said. “We were having problems commuting from Bulawayo to places like Binga which are very far. We are relocating to Lupane and we will use whatever resources available there. We are moving gradually, depending on the space available,” said Mathuthu.
Construction of the governor’s house and the Lupane government complex, Elitsheni, has not been completed.
Sources said construction of the governor’s house was moving at a very slow pace. The sources indicated that workers who were staying in government houses that Mathuthu and her colleagues would take over were being relocated.
“The construction of the governor’s house is moving at a slow pace and I don’t think it will be completed anytime soon. The governor’s property has already arrived in Lupane and she will be occupying one of the government houses, but the problem is they are evicting people who were occupying these houses,” said an official who did not want to be named.
Reports in August indicated that Matabeleland North, South and Bulawayo governors were chewing over $40 000 (revalued) in travel allowances every day due to lack of accommodation in their respective provinces.
But Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo argued that the governors were entitled to the allowances since government was yet to build houses for them.
“There is nothing sinister in that governors are paid allowances for accommodation. These governors are government employees and they are entitled to that allowance because we are still constructing their houses,” he was quoted as saying.
Projects such as the Joshua Mqabuko International Airport, Gwayi-Shangani Dam and Bulawayo-Nkayi road have not been completed, years after construction started.