NORTON – Norton Residence Development Trust (NRDT) will today stage a protest against the Precious Mufahore-led Norton Town Council (NTC) dubbed “Operation Restore Legacy.”
It is just the latest in a series of protests to rock the town amid accusations and counter-accusations.
Today’s protest – under the banner of NRDT— was organised by the local Independent MP Temba Mliswa against the MDC-led council.
“Please kindly read the below electronic flier on a peaceful march against the NTC which was organised by NRDT in line with Operation Restore Legacy,” Mliswa said in an sms sent to residents.
“It is paramount that every Nortonian take part in this demonstration as it targets malpractices by the NTC which are homogeneous across the town.
“The poor service delivery in Norton is being caused by gross levels of corruption and incompetence and as such we should demand the rule of law takes its course. As the Norton MP I am supporting this march as it has nothing to do with politics but service delivery.”
It comes after a July demonstration against Mliswa by the Residents Forum Norton (RFN) that was postponed to give the legislator time to mourn his deceased father.
Norton residents had scheduled a street protest against Mliswa arguing that his constant interference was affecting service delivery.
RFN chapter moved the demo to a later date on compassionate grounds.
Norton mayoress Mufahore has also asked a judge for a restraining order to block the voluble MP from interfering with council business.
In a December 5 letter to Mashonaland West Provincial State minister Webster Shamu, NRDT said it was inviting the minister to receive its petition today against “poor management” and alleged “land barons.”
The letter was copied to Mliswa and the Local Government permanent secretary.
Secretary to Council, Kizito Muhomba, in his response sent to Shamu and seen by the Daily News, dismissed the issues raised saying the local MP was an ideological adversary.
Mufahore has also said they were flabbergasted by the crusade against their council, and alleged the MP was pursuing a tribal agenda because the Norton municipal council was overwhelmingly dominated by office bearers from Masvingo, an allegation strenuously denied by Mliswa.
RFN chapter chairperson Samson Nduna has also alleged that Mliswa — a fitness trainer — was harassing council employees and regularly threatened to assault them if he does not get his way.
While NRDT alleged there was victimisation of council bureaucrats, Council clarified that the former councillor and Audit Committee chairperson, one Mr Takawira, was not fired by council but actually recalled by the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“It was not him alone but also former councillor Nerutanga was recalled. Council had nothing to do with their recalling. Their party, MDC-T can best give the reasons for the decision,” the letter to Shamu said.
Council also said the former senior internal auditor was dismissed from Council following due process.
“He breached the NTC Code of Conduct which applies to all employees of Council.
“We doubt very much that in his mind he would think a demonstration would assist his case,” Muhomba said in his letter to Shamu.
Responding to claims that a land developer, Konshen, of Johannesburg area’s development did not qualify for a compliance certificate but was issued one under unclear circumstances, council said he was actually issued with a compliance certificate in July 2002 upon satisfying development conditions.
“In December 2016 the same developer successfully applied for a subdivision permit on a remainder of the land and further a development was issued to him,” the letter said.
Responding to concerns that the developer has embarked on a new development behind the Catholic Clinic in Maridale where there is no road, water and sewer, Council said in September 2017, it noted development of structures within the area and it duly served him with an enforcement order to immediately stop the illegal occupation of the land.
“The developer responded on 31 October highlighting that he would ensure adherence to regulations,” Shamu was told.
Council gave a clean bill of health to Zimbabwe Amalgamated Housing Association Trust (Zaha) which bought land from Galloway Agricultural Enterprises.
“Zaha is currently servicing the remainder of Galloway, which is referred to as Galloway Phase 2,” Muhomba said in the letter, rubbishing corruption allegations.
“Council has also issued Zaha with a parallel development permit dated 18 August 2015 to allow the developers to concurrently service the scheme whilst their beneficiaries are putting up their structure to facilitate the provision of housing accommodation within the town.”
On concerns over water supply, Council said it had engaged a consultant for the design of a water treatment plant and a water master plan for the town.
“The scope of the project includes the consultant coming up with the bid documents for the construction works. Because council does not have funds for the project, there will be a PPP (public-private partnership) arrangement.
“Council has been working with the (Local Government) ministry on the project. An expression of interest was done and two companies were shortlisted for the construction bidding. Bidding is expected to close on 8 January 2017,” council said in the letter to Shamu.
On concerns about the absence of a home industry, council said this was false as there was “indeed one, commonly known as ‘durawall’ though it may not cater for the needs of all who require it.” Responding to concerns about the absence of proper rank for kombis, council said it has entered into partnership through tender for traffic management and rank construction.
“The construction of the rank should have started some time back. The partner seems to be having challenges getting forex,” council told the minister.
It also strenuously denied claims that there were no 2018 Budget consultations.
“Council called for meetings with all stakeholders although others felt left out as they wanted meetings specifically for them alone and not joined with other of similar objectives and these could not provide requirements like constitution as per Council policy and indeed for their identification,” Muhomba said in the latter to Shamu.