Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere is set to wield the axe on blundering Harare City Council following reports of a flawed procurement system, nepotism and the decline in service delivery.
Sources in the ministry said Minister Kasukuwere had his eyes set on Harare which has been hogging the limelight for the wrong reasons recently, chief among them the $100 000 car hire and Mayor Manyenyeni’s alleged nepotism.
Mr Manyenyeni has been accused of facilitating the employment of his relative, Mr Justin Mandizha, as the city’s finance director, allegations he vehemently denies saying he only got to know of that when Mr Mandizha was offered the job.
However, sources say Mr Manyenyeni was alive to the issue and recused himself from the proceedings leading to Mr Mandizha’s appointment.
“The minister is concerned with recent media reports to the effect that the city’s procurement system is in shambles and one person, the councils’ finance director (Mr Justin Mandizha) is running the show.”
“He is waiting for a report from an investigation team tasked to look into the management of council land by the city before taking action,” said the source.
In January, the minister appointed an audit team comprising of officers from his ministry to conduct an audit on Harare’s land management.
Meanwhile, Minister Kasukuwere yesterday ordered people who were selling land at Whitecliff Farm who are not the owner, property mogul Mr Edward Pfugari, to stop the illegal land sales saying Government would not hesitate to arrest them.
Mr Pfugari won a court battle to evict people resettled on his farm, which is near Kuwadzana Extension, in 2012 after winning a case against Government over settlement on the property.
The farm belonged to Mr Pfugari of Eddies Pfugari Properties before Government compulsorily acquired it and allocated it to home-seekers.
Mr Pfugari unsuccessfully contested the acquisition at the Administrative Court and appealed at the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ordered the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement and residents to vacate the property.
However, residents have been blocking Mr Pfugari from surveying his land and Ministers Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwao yesterday went to Whitecliff in a bid to find common ground among the two parties. After deliberations, Minister Kasukuwere told the residents representatives to allow Mr Pfugari to carry out a survey to see how much of his land was occupied and present a report to his ministry.
“We must build new towns where we allocate people land in an orderly fashion. If you go on and build where Government has instructed you to stop, we will allow Mr Pfugari to demolish the properties because the land belongs to him and he has a court order to that effect.
“As Government, we are discussing with Mr Pfugari to make sure that residents are not affected. We will negotiate. Mr Pfugari wants a solution that respects his aspirations. We must accept that it is his land,” he said.
Mr Pfugari claims thousands of people are on his property illegally.