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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Heads to roll at non-performing councils – President Mnangagwa

Story by Bruce Chahwanda, Political Editor

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa says heads will roll at non-performing local authorities, amid concerns over deteriorating service delivery in most urban councils.

He was speaking during an interaction with local authority representatives from across the country in Harare this Wednesday.

The event was organised by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works as part of efforts to ensure local authorities are realigned to their core mandate.

President Mnangagwa who also took advantage of the opportunity to launch a blueprint titled: “Call to Action-No Compromise to Service Delivery”, said ratepayers reserve the right to demand dismissal of non-performing council officials.

“I continue to note with great disappointment and concern, the dilapidated infrastructure in our cities and towns. This is compounded by water woes, uncollected waste, poor land use planning, and haphazard settlements. As the people’s government, we will continue to intervene towards transforming this unacceptable state of affairs in our urban areas.

“We will not tolerate child’s play, we will not stand by and watch our country being returned to medieval times, where solid waste runs along the streets with frequent diseases such as cholera and typhoid. Service delivery must be prioritized and ratepayers have a right to demand that heads roll, for those who do not deliver,” he said.

The President added that local authorities and the public service must not be treated as spaces for corruption and looting.

“Integrity, accountability, and transparency must be the cornerstones of officials working in our public entities. The trend of numerous arrests of both senior council officials and Councillors over a litany of corruption charges is untenable. Local authorities and the public service must never be treated as spaces for stealing and looting that which belongs to the people of Zimbabwe.

“The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, together with law enforcement agencies, must take a lead in ensuring that corruption and abuse of public resources in the sector is eliminated,” he said.

He revealed that the government will increase the allocation of devolution funds to ensure local authorities embark on capital projects after positive transformation was recorded in various communities across the country.

“Let me assure you all that my Government will increase the allocations to address the financing gaps within councils. However, I am aware of the concerns and need to increase the actual disbursement of allocated funds. My administration is committed to scaling up measures for the recapitalisation of local authorities.

“Infrastructure development, including the ongoing Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme, will continue to be supported. In keeping with best practices in the use of public finances, local authorities should improve their collection of rates. The syndrome of waiting for central government to provide resources and hide behind delays in the release of devolution Funds is unacceptable and will only slow down the speed at which we must achieve a higher quality of life for our people,” he said.

Topical issues include the need for local authorities to speed up the adoption of new technologies and assurance from the government on the procurement of more buses to service urban, inter-city, and rural routes.

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