GWERU – Gweru mayor Josiah Makombe says he would be a fool to accept a $150,000 Mercedes Benz C-Class proposed in the Midlands city’s 2019 budget.
Makombe said he was not party to the budget process, adding that when his input and vote is finally sought, a mayoral vehicle would be the last on his priorities.
Makombe said he would also actively work to block another proposal to buy four council executives SUVs worth $85,000 each.
He said some of the proposed items will be rejected once the budget committee convenes.
“Let me put it on record that it’s not true (that I want a car). I have never seen that document in my office; those papers are still with the thematic committees and it hasn’t come to us as council yet so that we sit down and look at the figures,” Makombe told journalists in the mayor’s boardroom on Thursday.
“Yes, the thematic committees managed to write whatever they thought was needed to carry business forward, but the things that are in the thematic papers are not yet official documents for the City of Gweru.
“I will not, and I repeat, I will not be a fool to buy expensive cars over service delivery. I was deployed here to make sure that we deliver in terms of giving people clean water and provide services.
“I don’t even need a Merc, what for? I am not an executive mayor, I’m a ceremonial mayor even though the duties that I do are executive. I don’t need it. I don’t even know why it was written in the newspapers that I want a Merc.
“I’m not that daft to think buying a car is a priority in Gweru, that would be the last thing.”
He said Gweru residents should not panic to think that the city is being led by “greedy people who would want to abuse their monies” in that manner.
He said no executive is getting a car if residents have no water.
Despite the directors being entitled to the vehicles as part of their contracts of employment when they assumed office in 2016, Makombe said buying the cars is not a priority as they knew the position of the council in terms of finances.
“After service provision is satisfactory, then we can look at buying cars for directors and we will never buy four cars at one go, maybe we will buy one car in any given budget year,” he said.