The Herald (Harare)

7 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Council Suspends 45 Over Illegal Car Sales Saga

HARARE City Council has suspended all 45 workers in the department of city valuation and estate management on allegations of corruption. The suspensions are however, with full pay and benefits

The Zimbabwe Urban Councils Workers Union said the move was triggered by the illegal allocation of space for car sales.

The city has ordered over 200 car sales owners to vacate by the end of this month because they are operating illegally.

Letters given to the affected workers signed on behalf of the city treasurer, Mr Misheck Mubvumbi, read: "Your suspension follows serious allegations of corruption as defined by our code of conduct. Your suspension period commences from 5 December 2012.

"Please note that you will be formally advised of the outcome once investigations are completed. Also take note that your suspension shall be for a period not exceeding 30 calendar days in line with the provisions of our code."

The workers were warned against interfering with investigations by visiting council premises unless when advised in writing or otherwise by management.

Public relations manager Mr Leslie Gwindi said they would hold a Press conference today to outline council's position.

"I will not comment on that, but what I can tell you is we have a Press conference tomorrow (today) in which we will outline our position and way forward," he said.

"I am sure your question will be addressed there."

ZUCWU condemned the mass suspensions.

"The suspensions are striking in their lack of depth and particularity into what is being alleged against the said employees," said ZUCWU in a statement.

"No connection or link whatsoever has been established between the suspended employees and the alleged offence of corruption.

"There is no indication of when, where and how the employees are alleged to have been corrupt and there is no allegation of what it is that they allegedly did in committing the alleged corruption."

ZUCWU said the mushrooming of illegal car sales "cannot be connected or associated with the suspended employees".

"For instance, the Mayor, His Worship Muchadeyi Masunda is quoted in some sections of the media as having confirmed that some of the purported illegal car sales had been allocated from district offices which are independent of the City Valuations and Estates Management," said ZUCWU.

It accused the city council of engaging in petty politics meant to divert public attention from the lack of clarity on its own procedures in relation to the issuance and allocation of council land.

"We, therefore, urge council to treat this matter with the seriousness it deserves and stop engaging in vain efforts at appeasing the public by pretending to be stamping out corruption by protecting the very corrupt elements it ought to be weeding out," said ZUCWU.

"For the record ZUCWU Harare Branch does not condone any form of corruption and insists on due process being followed to weed out this cancerous rot menacing society.

"ZUCWU will support a genuine desire to weed out corruption and stands against the mockery of justice being initiated by the City of Harare in handling this issue of public concern."

Workers in various departments of the city council have of late been accused of engaging in corrupt activities when dealing with residents.

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