GWERU: Government has raised a red flag on some local authorities that hide behind government-sponsored programmes and neglect their projects.
It emerged during an assessment of Tongogara Rural District Council’s performance that the local authority has only managed to meet 28 percent of its budget target in this last quarter of the year.
Authorities also appraised that 90 percent of the projects being run by the local authority are government-sponsored through devolution and emergency roads rehabilitation funds.
Council officials struggled to justify their poor performance.
“The lockdown resulted in us cutting down on staff to 10 percent which made it difficult for us to collect revenue effectively. Most staff members are also in an acting capacity which makes it difficult to make critical decisions. We have been having a nightmare in getting a database for mines operating here but the ministry has promised to bail us out,” said Tongogara RDC acting CEO Pinius Chiguvari.
The government was however not amused by the local authority’s line of defence, calling for officials to shape up or ship out.
“Tongogara used to be the shining star. Recently we have seen a decline in service delivery by RDC. I say this to encourage improved service delivery. We need to find the root cause of the decline.
“I am shocked to hear that your accounting systems are still manual in 2021. We need to embrace technology. You cannot use COVID-19 as the cause of your failure. There is nothing as bad as failure to perform. Let’s fulfil the electorate’s mandate otherwise, we have no space in these offices you are occupying,” said Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Senator Larry Mavhima.
The Tongogara Rural District Council’s top management including the Chief Executive Officer Brain Rufasha is on suspension facing several corruption charges that are before the courts while the RDC treasurer Sithembiso Ndiripo has since been fired on charges of abuse of office.