FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube has been flagged by the Bulawayo City Council over his campaign activities in Cowdray Park where he is drilling boreholes and conducting road maintenance works without the approval of the city’s engineering department.
Ncube is the Zanu PF parliamentary candidate for the newly created Cowdray Park constituency given birth by this year’s controversial delimitation exercise.
Since the time he clinched the ticket to represent the party in the 23 August elections, Ncube has been conducting several activities to lure voters such as sponsoring driving school lessorns for prospective drivers, rehabilitating roads and drilling boreholes.
However, on Wednesday, Bulawayo councillors fumed during a full council meeting over Ncube’s violations of council by-laws and regulations on infrastructure development through his boreholes and road maintenance projects.
The councillors said Ncube was committing a criminal offence by contravening provisions of the Roads Act by embarking on works without the permission and authority of council.
Ward 12 councillor Lillian Mlilo told the full council meeting that the engineering committee was abrogating its responsibilities by allowing Ncube to violate the Roads Act by tampering with public infrastructure. She demanded that the committee look into the matter and give feedback on how it was handling Ncube’s brazen illegalities.
“We never received any form of communication in terms of the legal procedures on fixing roads. Which engineers are they getting information from because those who are authorised to deal with Bulawayo property were never inquired?” she asked.
Deputy mayor and ward 1 councillor Mlandu Ncube in his contribution made it clear that it was a criminal offence to work on public property without having been cleared by the relevant council authority, especially the engineering department.
“We must all know that it is a crime to tamper with public infrastructure. You can’t be seen digging roads and covering them up without clearance. The notice from the Town Clerk that circulated was addressing this very issue,” he said.
Ward 9 councillor Donaldson Mabuto said it was inconceivable that Ncube was losing focus on addressing national economic problems and now prioritising municipal-level activities — and without the legal authority.
Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni also chastised Ncube’s conduct, describing it as criminal. He called upon municipal police to charge Ncube for contravening the Roads Act.
“That notice by the city council served to address this matter. It is actually criminal to clear roads, even in Cowdray Park, without getting clearance from the council. So, whoever is aspiring in Bulawayo should seek clearance from the road authority [instead of] committing an offence and should be liable to be charged under the Roads Act,” said the mayor.