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Gweru residents query council donation to minister’s wedding

Some Gweru residents and council officials are baffled with the way their council donated beer and a band towards the wedding of Defence Minister, Richard Hove, towards the end of last year.

The residents believe the council breached its own regulations as it appears the donation was made without being sanctioned by full council and was only ratified afterwards.

According to a copy of the council minutes, which The Insider has, the council donated 500 litres of Go-beer -opaque beer brewed by the council- and also provided the council-employed Super Sounds band. This, according to the minutes, was done following a request for the donation.

The minutes say that the organisers provided their own transport to ferry the band and the beer to the wedding ceremony in Zvishavane.

It appears, however, that the donation was made by officials without council authority as the minutes clearly state: “It is being recommended that the action taken by officials in providing 500 litres of Go-beer and the Super Sounds be rectified(sic).”

The residents who supplied The Insider with a copy of the minutes complain that it appears the officials breached council regulations by giving out the beer and the band without seeking authority from the council first.

Normally full council, which in Gweru meets once a month, has to approve anything that should be undertaken before it is done.

Last year the council lost a case in which it fired artisans and technicians without getting council authority first. It, however, appealed against the ruling.

The council was ordered to reinstate 12 artisans and technicians which it summarily dismissed in June 1990 after they had gone on strike demanding a scarcity allowance of 20 per cent.

The council was taken to court by the employees who argued that their summary dismissal was unlawful because it was not in terms of the relevant sections of the Urban Councils Act or the Labour Relations Act.

The workers argued that the decision to dismiss them was taken by the General Purposes, Community Services and Manpower Committee and not by the council.

The artisans argued that the General Purposes Committee had no authority to summarily dismiss them since this had to come from full council. What the council did was merely to endorse a resolution passed by the committee, which in the first place, did not have the power to dismiss the artisans.

Judge Muchechetere agreed with this view and said it would appear that the dismissal was a result of arbitrary action by the town clerk. He said that although Nhemachena wrote letters to the employees informing them that he was acting on behalf of the council there was nothing to indicate that he was authorised to so act. The judge awarded the case to the artisans and ordered the council to pay the court costs.

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