'Disclose council executives' salaries'

HARARE - Harare City Council officials yesterday came under pressure from resident organisations who demanded the disclosure of salaries by its executive.

Harare Residents Trust (HRT) director Precious Shumba challenged the authority to prove allegations that the local authority was sinking a huge chunk of taxpayer’s money into salaries at the expense of service delivery.

“Is it true that the town clerk is earning $18 000 while the people like you (chamber secretary Josephine Ncube) are taking home $10 000 at a time when council is said to be struggling to provide services,” asked Shumba during a budget pre-consultative meeting held at Town House.

Ncube and council management accountant Stanley Ndemera  dismissed the allegation.

Ncube said she would only state the percentage being used to pay salaries.

“I can only tell you what Mr Ndemera has already said that 42 percent is going to salaries, but on that we are making efforts to reduce it to 30 percent. But if you want to see his pay (town clerk) he should give it to you,” said the chamber secretary.

Ndemera said the salaries issue was investigated by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo and found out that it was fair.

“I remember you (Shumba) once came here and raised the issue with the minister. And if there was something wrong he should have come to you and said so,” said Ndemera.

There has been a public outcry from resident organisations over the council’s salary bill which is reportedly pegged at a total amount of $6,5 million per month.

The council officials were also asked to provide answers on the number of its employees, why its books are not being audited and incompetency.

“We are not in a position to say how many workers we have but I can tell we have not recruited since 2010.
 
“The employee number is decreasing. Yes we have redeployed some of our staff as part of an operation meant to eliminate overstaffing,” was all the human resources director could say.

Ncube said the local authority was in the process of digitalising with the aim of improving efficiency.

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