According to a confidential council report compiled in April, the three officials had failed to explain why the city was in such a precarious position. Council is riddled with a crippling debt as a result of bank loans totalling US$8,2 million, salary creditors US$26 552 374, and a Zesa bill of US$19 079 906 while other creditors are owed US$2 652 420.
Council took bank loans for financial working capital and purchase of top-of-the-range vehicles for senior managers, but councillors have charged that the local authority was losing thousands of dollars through corruption in the financial and housing departments.
It was also losing money through properties that are not on the council records being leased by corrupt officials. “Council did not follow-up the request for a comprehensive report of council properties,” reads the report. “Council is under-collecting monthly revenue due to incompetence and as such, dead wood must be removed from the system.”
The report also noted that council was hiring new staff in violation of a motion to suspend recruitment to contain the huge wage bill. Ndimande presented a report detailing how council was intensifying water disconnections to recover money owed to it by residents. As a result of these disconnections, about US$2,1 million was being collected a week, but it’s still below council’s target of US$6 million.
He said council was set to engage debt collectors in an effort to collect more revenue but councilors rejected his plans to attach ratepayers’ property saying such a move would plunge the council’s name into disrepute.