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PLUMTREE Town Council has been hit by a scandal involving its officials, amid allegations of underhand dealings in the issuance of taxi operators’ licences.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
In a letter to council, Plumtree Combined Residents and Developmental Association (PCRDA) chairperson, Richard Khumalo accused the local authority’s officials of corruption.
“As Plumtree Combined Residents and Developmental Association, we are worried about corruption that is going on at Plumtree Town Council offices,” part of the letter read.
“It is revealed that taxi operators (sic) are asked to pay for their licence fees to a certain individual within the office who could fast track the release of licences to operate within Plumtree town.”
Khumalo indicated that applicants are being asked to pay undisclosed amounts, in order to get confirmation letters that are then taken to the Transport ministry, for one to get an operator’s licence.
“It was discovered that (the) money (which) was supposed to go to council coffers was converted to their own use,” the residents’ association leader said.
Khumalo said his organisation has been in touch with council chairman, a P Hobani and other councillors over the issue, and it has been confirmed that the leadership is aware of the scam.
Contacted for comment, Hobani referred questions to Plumtree town secretary, Davis Dumezweni Luthe, who could not be reached for comment.
Taxis association chairperson, Gift Zivanai, confirmed the matter, saying they were made to pay $36, but were not given those licences. Instead, they were given shop licences, which they rejected.
“We heard the money was supposed to be handed over to the Transport ministry, but to our surprise, it was not remitted. We heard someone embezzled the money,” Zivanai said.
Khumalo said the case has been reported to the police in Plumtree under case number RRB2679112, adding stakeholders were surprised that council is laying the blame on an official who left two years ago.
“They know the culprits who are in the offices for fear that they might end up exposing a lot of corruption.
“There are recent cases in which taxi operators claim that they paid money to individuals who are still in office.
Those individuals are still to be suspended, and councillors are arguing on which internal procedures will be followed to deal with those still in their jobs,”he said.