Gweru City Council on Tuesday, October 15, confirmed the suspension of town clerk Elizabeth Gwatipedza saying the move was necessitated by deteriorating service delivery standards and her failure to effectively carry out her duties.
Mayor Josiah Makombe said the suspension was due to the failure by Gwatipedza, as the accounting officer, to effectively run council operations.
“We are coming from a special council meeting were deliberations on the suspension letter have been made. The letter was issued yesterday and councillors have harmoniously adopted the move.
“So she is now suspended pending necessary processes which need to done according to the law. So it’s just a suspension whereby she must answer to the charges.
“Being the accounting officer, she was supposed to act and implement service delivery operations to the expectations of residents. Roads are bad, refuse is not being collected and water issues – all those are not well. We want to make everyone understand that we mean business. This is council’s decision and six charges are being levelled namely gross incompetence and failure to manage departments amid others,” said Makombe.
He said the suspension was not politically-motivated but was meant to point out the direction that the city should take.
“This is purely on employment basis where one is supposed to be accountable. It’s not a political decision; we are declared politicians as councillors but our staff members are not politically-enclosed. We cannot use politics on our staff. Mrs Gwatipedza was employed on merit,” Makombe said.
Local residents groups have of late complained that municipal services are deteriorating, pointing to a recent service delivery report as evidence of corruption and mismanagement.
Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) director, Selipiwe Cornelia accused Gwatipedza’s office of deliberately failing to respond to questions arising from the adverse report.
Among many other evidence of gross incompetence, the report points to glaring mistakes by the director of engineering Robson Manatsa, regarding water capacity and recordings at Gwenhoro Dam and the procurement of an old backhoe loader which the department had claimed was new.