By Tawanda Mangoma
Residents here have challenged councillors to undertake a forensic audit of the previous council’s books amid fears that the cash-strapped local authority might have been prejudiced of millions of dollars through dubious land deals.
Speaking during an inaugural interface meeting between councillors and stakeholders at Chitsanga Hall over the weekend, residents tasked the new councillors to investigate reports of ghost workers on the local authority’s payroll.
They also wanted the water billing system to be overhauled together with the council’s vehicle policy.
Chiredzi Residents and Ratepayers Association chair Mr Jonathan Muusha said a forensic audit was key to restoring lost trust between the local authority and ratepayers.
“We want you as our council to undertake a forensic audit that would give us a clear picture of how stands were allocated, tenders were awarded and how revenue collected was utilised among other issues,” he said.
Chiredzi Town resident Mr Josphat Tizirai challenged councillors to inform residents before embarking on big projects that have an impact on the future of the town.
“Right now we have the issue of a council vehicle that was taken by the chair of the previous council while the council grader was stripped of key components and the matter was not reported to police. We need a culture of accountability,” said Mr Tizirai.
Chiredzi Town Council chair councillor Gibson Hwende assured residents that his council would stand guided by the ratepayers’ wishes.
“We need money to offer good service, we want residents and the business community to support us by paying their dues so that we can deliver,” he said.
“Council is going to prioritise salaries payments to ensure service delivery and this can only be achieved if you finance our operations by paying bill,” he said.