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Harare council, Zinara trade barbs – Zimbabwe Independent

Harare mayor Jacob Mafume

HARARE mayor Jacob Mafume has threatened to take the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) to court saying its model for road construction is not working, adding that since 2009, Zinara has not built a single road in the capital.

Addressing journalists yesterday at Town House, Mafume said the Harare City Council (HCC) has been struggling to repair dilapidated roads in the capital.

“We are taking Zinara to court for we can no longer continue to play when people’s cars are being damaged, and there are road accidents. The road network is fast disappearing, yet there is an institution (Zinara) collecting in excess of US$64 million annually. The establishment of Zinara led to the transfer of the vehicle licensing portfolio from local authorities to the statutory body. That is when the problems of failure to repair and maintain roads and the attendant infrastructure began, and the results were visible on the ground for all to see,” Mafume said.

“For a period of time, Zinara dabbled in high-level corruption as they were buying aeroplanes, gave huge perks to its executives and swimming pools, and bought several things using public funds. We demand transparency and accountability in the utilisation of these public funds,” he said.

Mafume added:  “The law is very explicit and stipulates the following as road user fees: vehicle licence fees, fuel levy and carbon tax. Currently, only part of the vehicle licence fees is distributed to the road authorities. In the last five years, out of expectations of plus or minus US$60 million per year, the City of Harare received less than US$2,5 million. The City of Harare has not received anything from the fuel levy and carbon tax revenues in the past years, and this is another area where we are demanding our fair share of the national cake.”

In 2022, the allocated budget for road rehabilitation for HCC was $958 million.

“We received $1,431 billion of which $800 000 was from registered vehicles, and the vehicle licences cost US$20 per quarter for most of the private vehicles, totalling US$64 million annually. The $1,431 billion translates to US$2,13 million using the official rate as at 31 December 2022. This amount is not enough even to do five kilometres of road reconstruction,” Mafume said.

He said using funds from City Parking and budgetary provisions, HCC only managed to do 12,5km of road rehabilitation and 436km new roads.

But Zinara chief executive officer Nkosilathi Ncube disputed Mafume’s claims  saying in 2020, the roads authority disbursed 100% of the City of Harare’s $86 million allocation, but the city authorities  failed to acquit their last disbursement.

“As a result, they failed to access an early disbursement in 2021. The City of Harare’s allocation for 2021 was $1,3 billion, which again can be translated to USD using the exchange rate at the time. However, the City of Harare only requested $154 million of this total allocation and failed to utilise in excess of $1, 1 billion. In 2022, they are yet to acquit their fourth quarter disbursement of $566 million despite the fact that most road authorities have already acquitted their 2022 disbursements. This means that even if funds were to be disbursed today as per the Zinara schedule for 2023, Harare residents will still be deprived of service delivery until their road authority follows the dictates of the Road Act.”

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Zimbabwean Embassy To Launch A Plan For The Return Of ZEP … – The Zimbabwe Mail

The Zimbabwean embassy in South Africa is expected to launch a strategic plan for the return of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) holders.

South Africa cancelled the ZEP facility last year stating that holders will not be allowed to reside, work or learn in that country beyond 30 June 2023 if they cannot find alternative legal permission to live there.

About 180 000 Zimbabweans face deportation.

Several lobby groups met last week at the University of Cape Town to discuss the upcoming court bid to oppose the government’s decision to scrap the ZEP.

A lawyer representing permit holders, Advocate Simba Chitando, told SABC News that the Zimbabwean government is not responsible for the decision to terminate the ZEP. He added:

In my view, all the Zim government can do is make provisions to accept the Zim nationals who may want to return to Zimbabwe. It looks like the Zim government is saying that for those who wish to return, I got the sense that it is a voluntary exercise, and they are doing what any government would do when there is a crisis in a foreign country, to make provisions for the return of its own people.

South Africa’s cancellation of special permits for foreign nationals is part of a broad exercise of reviewing its immigration policies to manage an influx of economic migrants.

It is viewed as the government’s response to intensified calls and efforts by South African nationals who have over the years been calling for the ejection of foreign nationals whom they argue were taking their jobs and business opportunities.

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Manchester United footballer Mason Greenwood has charges … – New

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Manchester Evening News

Mason Greenwood has had criminal proceedings against him discontinued.

Charges against Manchester United footballer Mason Greenwood have been dropped.

Greater Manchester Police have announced today that criminal proceedings against the 21-year-old have today been discontinued. The 21-year-old striker had been charged with attempted rape, engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour and assault, allegations relating to the same woman.

But in a statement today, Chief Superintendent Michaela Kerr, GMP’s Head of Public Protection, said: “Given the significant media coverage of this case, it is only fair that we share the news that the 21-year-old man, who had been arrested and charged in connection with an investigation opened in January 2022, no longer faces criminal proceedings in relation to this.

“The investigation team has remained in regular contact with the legal team, providing any updates of note, and so understand the rationale for the discontinuation of proceedings at this stage, and that this decision has not been taken lightly.

“Despite the media and public’s interest in this case, we have decided not to comment on it in any further detail.

“I would, however, like to use this opportunity to reiterate GMP’s commitment to investigating allegations of violence against women and girls and supporting those affected, regardless of their circumstances, throughout what can be a hard and upsetting time for them. An ever increasing number of officers are receiving specialist training and the force is more consistently utilising tools, available via the criminal justice system, to keep people safe and care for victims.

“If you feel you are or might be a victim, please don’t let this case put you off asking for help.”

A CPS spokesperson said: “We have a duty to keep cases under continuous review. In this case a combination of the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light meant there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction. In these circumstances, we are under a duty to stop the case.

“We have explained our decision to all parties. We would always encourage any potential victims to come forward and report to police and we will prosecute wherever our legal test is met.”

Greenwood, who joined United aged six, has been suspended by the club during the court process. He has not played professional football for a year. The last game he played for United was the Premier League fixture against West Ham on January 22 last year.

About a week later, on January 30, Greenwood was arrested after a woman made a series of posts on Twitter. He was arrested and has been suspended by United ever since.

The following day, his sponsor Nike announced it had suspended its relationship with the footballer, later confirming the partnership had ended. Prosecutors charged Greenwood with the three offences about eight months later, in October.

He appeared before magistrates on October 17 and then before a judge at Minshull Street a month later, on November 21.

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Vast Resources expects historic diamond parcel release in coming days –

(Alliance News) – Vast Resources PLC on Thursday said the High Court of Zimbabwe has granted a default order against the Minister of Mines & Mining Development, in relation to the release of a historic parcel of diamonds.

The London-based mining company with projects in Romania and Zimbabwe said the High Court order for the release of the parcel of 129,400 carats of rough diamonds is expected to be signed in the coming days.

The company said the High Court should allow for a “lawful and transparent” process to begin for the release of the historic parcel to the company.

Vast Resources said the stones would be independently cleaned and valued, before being sold via a tender process. The company noted that once these processes have been finalised, it will refocus on other opportunities in Zimbabwe.

The diamonds have been held in the custody of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe since 2010, pending the determination of an appeal against the High Court’s decision in 2009. Vast resources began formal legal action in the High Court of Zimbabwe in December 2022.

Chief Executive Officer Andrew Prelea said: “Despite taking longer than anticipated, I am very pleased to announce that after many years of hard work and discussion with the Zimbabwean Government the matter regarding the release of the historic parcel has now been amicably settled in a manner supported by an Order of the High Court of Zimbabwe.

“This demonstrates the Zimbabwe Government’s and in particular His Excellency President Cmd. E D Mnangagwa’s commitment to resolving legacy issues related to investment in Zimbabwe in a transparent and legal manner for the mutual benefit of investors and the Country.”

Vast Resources shares were down 14% trading at 0.68 pence per share on Thursday afternoon in London.

By Harvey Dorset, Alliance News reporter

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