….where does the beef come from?
…as councillor accuses ‘drunkard’ city engineer for poor service delivery
….blocked gold mining interests unravel
Masvingo Urban Ward 10 Councillor Sengerayi Manyanga on October 01 took to a TellZim social media platform to accuse city engineer Tawanda Gozo of ineptitude and drunkenness which he blamed for poor water provision to residents.
The youthful Zanu PF councillor, who is known for his rabble-rousing and often non-diplomatic cash-talk, also cast aspersions on Gozo’s qualifications, saying he suspected the engineer was not professionally fit for the job.
“Our engineer does not take issues of service delivery seriously,” wrote Manyanga in a WhatsApp group which had many angry residents who hardly get water supplies in their residential areas.
“In one council meeting, I asked him to produce his engineering qualification and he failed to do so. I think he does not have requisite qualifications to be city engineer. As you complain here about all these service delivery problems, he is in his office drinking whisky,” he continued.
“For two days, water has been flowing out of a burst main supply pipe in Morningside, treated water. He also connected Clipsham Views to the municipal water supply system without council resolution. Clipsham Views was connected to the water supply systems irregularly and that is one of the reasons why that suburb gets water all the time while you don’t get any in your areas,” Manyanga charged.
As the debate raged, new details began to emerge, with some sources telling TellZim that Manyanga’s allegations were a case of sour grapes as the engineer had recommended that council turn down his application to mine gold on the crest of Target Kopje Hill which happens to host the city’s biggest water storage tanks.
The area is already being mined by ‘some political heavy-weights’ who controversially got a permit to do so despite council and the Provincial Mining Department voicing concerns about the safety of both residents and the water tanks.
“Manyanga is just fighting his own selfish battles. He is not worried about the welfare of residents but is being vindictive at being denied the privilege to mine on those precarious hills,” said a source.
TellZim also saw part of Gozo’s recent report to council’s Finance and General Purpose, Health and Housing committees stating in brief why many requests for mining permission on the hills including Manyanga’s should be turned down.
“A letter was received from Mr. S. Manyanga of Sengerayi Investments requesting for a consent letter from the City of Masvingo to carry out mining activities at target Kopje Hills. Council deliberated on 11/09/2020 and had resolved that in light of the challenges from the current mining activities at the area affecting residential areas and where there is non-compliance with regulations, there should not be any more letters of consent permitting mining in the area (Resolution Number 256 A 1&2 refers).
“The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development had also indicated an incapacity to adequately supervise the mining activities to ensure compliance with the regulatory framework. In light of the above, it is recommended that the application be turned down,” reads part of Gozo’s report.
The report also shows that other applications for letters of consent to mine at the site were turned down too and those include an application by Phainos Makwarimba, another youthful and highly-influential Zanu PF member in the province.
However, the sources said Gozo himself was not without controversy and that it would be folly to assume that Manyanga simply made up all his allegations from the blue.
“Remember the previous council led by Hubert Fidze wanted to fire him for many gross errors of omission and commission but he cunningly worked his way out of trouble. It is also not without some substance that Clipsham was connected in a dodgy way. That is on record. We may not even want to bother talking about the frequent pipe bursts that are seldom attended to on time,” said another source.
During a visit in 2018 by the Justice Tendai Uchena-led Commission of Enquiry into the Sale of State Land in and Around Urban Areas Since 2005, Gozo was seriously censored by members of the commission for approving a shoddy road network plan in Clipshjam Views.
In January this year, the city supplied half-treated water to residents after the staff at the Bushmead Water Treatment Plant neglected buying aluminium sulphate, a key component in the water treatment process.
The debacle led to the suspension and ultimate demotion of the water works’ chief superintendent, but Gozo himself, who oversees the department, was left unscathed.