THE Gweru City Council has responded to worker protests over their outstanding salaries by splashing on a $42,000 car for the mayor.
Workers have been paid just 25 percent of their monthly salaries since January by the cash-strapped local authority.
Two weeks ago, the workers demonstrated outside Town House but their demands were shot down by the council which says it is BROKE.
Council workers will be left fuming this week after mayor Councillor Tedious Chimombe (MDC-T) took delivery of his brand new Toyota Prado, which he immediately took for a spin as he attended the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo.
A council worker said: “Some suburbs like Mkoba have gone for months without water because the council has no capacity to meet the city’s daily water consumption.
“But the council can spend thousands of dollars on new cars for officials who already had very good cars.”
Chimombe on Friday defended the purchase, insisting the car belonged to the council and was not his private property.
He said: “Is it new that councils buy vehicles for use by council officials? The Prado vehicle you are referring to was bought for the mayor to use during council business and it’s not my vehicle as you are saying, it’s a council vehicle for use by the mayor.
“There are in fact two more other trucks that the council recently bought to boost our fleet of vehicle for service delivery.”
Gweru is not the first council to rile residents by buying a top-of-the range vehicle for the mayor.
The Harare City Council splashed US$130,000 on a new Mercedes for ceremonial mayor Muchadeyi Masunda.
In his defence, Masunda claimed he was powerless against the decision of the council. He said he was told "by the people that are responsible for doing these things that there is a resolution that was passed, I don’t know when, that says the mayoral vehicle shall be this type of vehicle.”
Bulawayo followed, paying US$65,000 for a Chrysler 2.0l CRO Dodge Journey for mayor Thaba Moyo (MDC-T).
When challenged by journalists over the “obscene” expenditure, Moyo said: “There is nothing wrong with the council buying this car because, anyway, it is not mine. For ceremonial purposes the car is needed. Stop bothering me with questions.”