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Outcry over BCC gold mine lease charges

According to the latest full council minutes, BCC announced that it will be leasing out some gold mines that fall under its jurisdiction for US$150 and suspended the payment of rates.

BULAWAYO residents have expressed concern over low gold mine lease charges levied by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) describing the move as a wasted opportunity to increase revenue streams for the local authority.

According to the latest full council minutes, BCC announced that it will be leasing out some gold mines that fall under its jurisdiction for US$150 and suspended the payment of rates.

Council has also resolved to suspend billing on various mining claims.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association secretary for administration Thembelani Dube said the move raised eyebrows, adding that BCC should be operating the gold mines instead of leasing them.

“This is a wasted opportunity to raise money, leasing out these gold mine claims at such low charges is very disturbing. We expected the council to do the mining itself because this is a natural resource that can boost its coffers,” Dube said.

“The move is not transparent, it shows that council officials want to lease the mines to themselves.’’

Bulawayo United Residents Association director Winos Dube said: The lease charges are too low; they could be leased out within the inner circle of the council. This is council investment, we have always said that council should not be seen depending on ratepayers only for its revenue but also on such investments to alleviate high bills on residents.’’

Bulawayo deputy mayor Edwin Ndlovu said council reviewed lease charges annually.

“That report is yet to be discussed in a full council; we will do that next week. Council reveals lease charges reviews annually and I am yet to see that report,’’ he said. – (Southern Eye)

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