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Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Residents call for commission to run Harare and Chitungwiza councils

Story by Wellington Makonese

CALLS have been made for government to consider establishing commissions to run the local authorities of Harare and Chitungwiza, in the wake of continued maladministration and exploitation of rate payers’ money.

The transformation of urban councils into havens of malpractice and incompetence has irked residents who have now called upon government to establish commissions to superintend over local authorities.

This has been instigated by revelations of gross maladministration where suspended senior officials from Chitungwiza and Harare continue to receive full perks concurrently with acting personnel, thus fleecing council of rate payers’ money.

“City of Harare and Chitungwiza Municipality has the largest number of acting managers and directors, deliberately the management and the mayor are not holding boards of inquiry for all suspended Executives who continue to collect full salaries and packages whilst at home. The acting personnel are collecting the full salary and perks of acting as well as the full perks of their current position. It is unfortunate that government through the non-functional Local Government Board has allowed this to continue for over three years with all suspended personnel benefiting from home at the expense of residents. We plead with him to constitute a commission to run the affairs of those two,” said Mr Shalvar Chikomba, National Chairperson Zimbabwe National Organization of Associations and Residents Trust.

The local authorities have also failed to produce audited financials for some years, coupled with inconsistent billing patterns.

“The City of Harare has failed to produce audited financial statements year on year and it’s now three years. What is shocking is that without any audited financials they have continued to have budgets approved by the Ministry of Local Government. Timely publishing of audited financials creates an environment of transparency and accountability, we demand that these be published in the next 90 days,” he added.

The urban local authorities, particularly Harare, are under fire for among other issues, dubious tender granting, unscrupulous parking fee debacles, unplanned settlements and poor service delivery.

Section 80(1)(b) of the Urban Councils Act states that the Minister of Local Government may appoint a commission to act as council in the case where councillors are unable to exercise some of their duties.

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