OF late, council officials in Harare have largely blamed poor service delivery on non-payment by residents.
The claim by council officials is in direct contrast to CHRA’s long held assertion that council’s bloated wage bill, corruption as well as misuse of public funds have largely contributed to poor service delivery in the capital.
Furthermore, government departments, senior public officials and corporates are among the major debtors of Council yet nothing has been done to bring these city clients to book.
To add on to this is the issue of misplaced priorities which has resulted in council allocating over $5 million annually to sports at a time service delivery in Harare is at its lowest. It has to be noted that according to Harare Mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni, council’s expenditure on sports is shrouded in secrecy ad controversy.
During a Residents’ Convention held last week (September 26, 2017) Mayor Manyenyeni poured his heart out and revealed that the Harare City Council’s bloated wage bill and misuse of funds had come with negative implications on the smooth flow of affairs at Town House.
Mayor Manyenyeni revealed that top council officials were in the habit of buying expensive vehicles and allocating each other hefty workshop allowances and all this was being done at the expense of effective service delivery.
He added that it was unacceptable for council officials to host workshops outside Harare yet the capital has a lot of facilities that can be used to host such events.
“It is surprising to see workshops being hosted outside Harare yet we have facilities to cater for that here. On top of that, you see officials being allocated hefty allowances for attending workshops outside Harare and all that is bleeding the council.
“Personally, I refused a $200 000 vehicle and I am now finishing my term on pool cars. At this moment, we cannot afford to buy expensive vehicles because it brings shame to us,” said Mayor Manyenyeni.
He also bemoaned the poor work ethic at council which he said must change.
“There is need to change the work ethic at council from the high ranking to the low ranking worker. Presently, the work ethic at council is not pleasing at all,” said Mayor Manyenyeni.
In light of the mismanagement at council, Mayor Manyenyeni said the Harare City Council had no moral right or obligation to unleash debt collectors on residents.
He was speaking in apparent reference to Wellcash Debt Collectors who were re-engaged by the Harare City Council to collect money owed by residents.
CHRA has upped its campaign against the debt collectors who are charging an extra 10 percent on top of what the residents owe to council. The debt collectors are also issuing threats of attachment of property to the residents.
Although the Harare City Council has tried to justify the operations of the debt collectors, Mayor Manyenyeni admitted that their operations were brutal and arrogant.
He said that it was totally unfair for the debt collectors to target low income households yet there are companies that owe the council huge amounts of money.
“We are saying Wellcash must target companies that owe council huge amounts of money first. We cannot seize property from poor residents and sell the property for a song so that we pay each other overpaid salaries,” said Mayor Manyenyeni.
Of the $12 Million collected monthly by the Harare City Council, $10 Million is going towards salaries and Mayor Manyenyeni bemoaned that council was in the business of paying salaries.
He said that given this unfortunate development, council had “no moral right or obligation to demand money ruthlessly from residents”.
Mayor Manyenyeni reiterated CHRA’s call for a debt audit saying that most of the amounts residents are reported to owe council are largely disputable hence council has no basis to demand money ruthlessly from residents.
Source: Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)