Harare trash collection crisis deepens

HARARE - Harare City Council’s (HCC)’s refuse collection crisis is now in its fourth week with still no solution in sight.

The garbage collection crisis erupted last month after municipal authorities faced dire fuel shortages emanating from an acute cash crunch.

The situation is so serious that HCC is mulling approaching the Local Government ministry on how best to deal with the ongoing trash disaster, with medical professionals increasingly alarmed by its effect on health.

Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni told the Daily News the city is in a hurry to solve the disaster by getting streets garbage-free — a move he said could help pacify the rates paying public.

“We have a serious case of a lack of resources. The city collects $13 million monthly; $9 million goes towards servicing the salary bill, another

$3 million goes to water treatment chemicals, leaving a meagre $1 million or less for other services. Approaching the minister for assistance in this fuel challenge is only a short-term solution to the problem because it will continue,” Manyenyeni said.

“I would rather have more money for fuel. The problem that we have right now is that we do not have enough even for current needs. I am using my own car for municipal business while refuse trucks are grounded.”

He said council must clamp down on high earners across the Harare municipality.

“We are paying more than the private and public sectors at the moment. A state-registered nurse in council earns $1 527 per month as opposed to $500 for government nurses. A security guard in council earns

$1 027 though their rank is similar to a constable in the Zimbabwe Republic Police. A street sweeper get more than $700 while a cattle herd boy earns little over $400 while the same at a farm gets approximately $81,” Manyenyeni said.

The mayor said until HCC aligns its costs to what it collects monthly; the city will fall deeper into trouble.

“If we don’t fix things right we will have diseases by January. We put $2 million to football and $1,2 million to an employment council, these are not essentials. That same money is enough for fuel.

“We are also lagging behind in statutory obligations,” the mayor said.

Borrowdale councillor Allan Markham said while the city may be genuinely struggling financially; it was difficult for councillors to convince residents to pay their bills following exposure of council management’s huge salary bill.

“Government resolved that management should get $10 000 and below, however they continue paying each other salaries of more than $20 000. What I suggest is that all those involved in the salary scam be fired immediately,” Markham said.

HCC is currently dealing with revelations of a Local Government ministry audit report that exposed gross salary and allowances fraud by 40 of its top managers and retrenched directors.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.