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Vic Falls residents threaten to boycott budget meetings

The Victoria Falls City Council has rolled out ward consultative meetings to consult residents towards crafting the 2023 budget, but the residents association has rallied residents to boycott the process in protest over alleged corruption in the local authority.

Relations are sour between Victoria Falls residents and the city council over what the Victoria Falls Combined Residents Association (Vifacora) called a “five point” demand.

Vifacora is not happy that the council is planning to give the sitting mayor councillor Somvelo Dlamini a Toyota Fortuner as part of his package when he leaves office next year, and also that councillors and management clandestinely sold two commercial stands for a song, leased beerhalls and awarded loans to management without consulting residents.

The residents association leadership has been holding back-to-back meetings with the city fathers lately seeking to get answers on the five issues but no response has come through.

Meetings were held with residents recently where it was resolved that all resolutions made without consulting residents should be reversed.

Vifacora now believes it has got its opportunity to pressurize the council and has targeted budget meetings that are set to begin Tuesday and has discouraged residents from attending.

In a notice of the ward consultative meetings, Town Clerk Ronnie Dube said meetings will start Tuesday and end Thursday.

“Victoria Falls City Council wishes to notify its residents and stakeholders that it will be holding ward consultative meetings for purposes of formulating the 2023 budget,” said Dube.

According to the schedule, wards 1, 2 and 3 will have their meeting Tuesday at the council grounds at 5 pm while wards 4, 4, 6, 7 and 8 will meet at Chinotimba Hall on the same day and same time.

Wards 9 and 10 will gather at Mosi-oa-Tunya High School at 11 am on Wednesday before the meeting for the business community, non-governmental organisations and special interest groups at 5 pm at the council grounds on the same day.

Ward 11 will have two meetings at Cry of Africa and Chamabondo Primary School on Thursday, the same day as the Junior Council which will have its meeting at the council grounds at 2 pm.

In a statement, Vifacora vowed to disrupt the meetings.

The residents association said the council should first attend to the raised concerns.

“We have noted with concern the Victoria Falls City Council advert for the 2023 budget consultative meetings scheduled for the 20th to the 22nd of September 2022. We would like to advise the esteemed residents and other relevant stakeholders not to attend these meetings until the council updates residents on the five resolutions they adopted without their concern,” said Vifacora executive.

They said the council authorities cannot pretend to be unaware of pending resident’s pending concerns.

“We will monitor all the said meetings and make sure nothing will take place.

“What budget do they want to talk about, if not to feed into a porous system with questionable administration? We urge the council to respect residents and do the right thing,” added Vifacora.

Residents have called upon the city fathers to properly execute their mandate than just to continue collecting rates and tariffs but improve service delivery without corruption and maladministration.

“What we are waiting for is an official response and update of how far the council has attended to the five point issues that need to be reviewed,” said the residents.

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