By Staff Reporter
THE MDC led Bulawayo City Council (BCC) boldly demanded $100 000 from Zanu PF to provide a single fire tender to cover the ruling party’s national conference in Esigodini last month, latest council minutes have revealed.
The Zanu PF annual national people’s conference was held over four days with the party and state president Emmerson Mnangagwa presiding over the event.
Whenever the president is officiating at an event anywhere in the country, critical services such as ambulances, police escort, security as well as a stand-by fire tender are often required.
According to the report, the Umzingwane District Administrator wrote to the local authority requesting the services of a fire tender during the course of the conference and was charged $101 000 for the service.
“The Chamber Secretary had availed the quotation for the fire tender for the entire conference i.e four days and it cost $101 000 (inclusive of distance) which they felt was too exorbitant on their part,” read part of the report.
“She had provided a quotation of $800 per hour which translated to $19 400 per day. Council’s view was that the tender should be availed only when the President was present, and not cover the whole conference.
“The (Bulawayo) Town Clerk (Christopher Dube) then considered the figures for only one day and had to bend the tariff structure so as to accommodate the situation, because Council staff could not be called from leave for such an event.”
The charges were then reduced to $13 378 per day and “payment should be made in advance so that the crew was catered for”.
But members of the Bulawayo General Purposes Committee debated the matter, with councillors divided on the issue.
“Discussion ensued and Alderman Norman Hlabani sought clarification on the discounted rates. He wanted to know what this translated to and by so doing, was Council not taking care of a party cost? He sought clarification from a legal point of view, and on what had happened in the past, for such an event. He further sought clarification on the total prejudice to Council if the service was provided.
“The Deputy Mayor (Councillor Tinashe Kambarami) also raised concern over the issue. He however felt that this was a party programme and the President was attending as a President of a Political Party and not President of the country.
“Bulawayo City Council could not afford a free service to any political party. Council was facing a lot of challenges and there was therefore a need to avoid mismanagement,” read part of the report.