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Friday, July 12, 2024

City of Harare governance under spotlight

Story by Wellington Makonese

The Harare City Council has come under scrutiny, with Town House officials being summoned before parliament to answer to several competence related questions.

Officials from the Harare City Council and four of its subsidiary companies appeared before the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee on the back of failure to avail audited statements and the Auditor General’s report which flagged that US$200 million was missing from the council’s books.

Quizzed by legislators over methods of operations that include exorbitant parking fines and clamping of vehicles among other issues, City Parking Managing Director, Mr Simon Muzviyo was adamant that the company is not prone to public scrutiny.

“We are a private company that is not subject to public scrutiny under the Public Finance Management Act, we do not deny that we are liable to scrutiny hence our presence but through the shareholder. If council takes over city parking, we will not survive,” he said.

The absence of a billing system has also been a subject for debate with recommendations being made.

“In terms of the Auditor General’s report the city council was refusing to include the revenues and the activities of the subsidiaries in their main audited accounts. There is no ERP system meaning lots of funds are unaccounted for. We are now having a separate inquiry to look into that,” said the chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Sub Committee on Public Accounts, Honourable Charlton Hwende.

The City of Harare has over the years faced backlash from stakeholders for failing to deliver on its service provision mandate, with council authorities being accused of misplaced priorities.

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