Manyenyeni calls for Harare City budget cut, again

HARARE - Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni (pictured) has called the Harare City Football Club’s $2 million yearly budget a luxury which council can no longer afford.

In an interview with the Daily News, Manyenyeni said the budget should be revised down pending an improvement in service delivery.

His sentiments come as the city is failing to collect rubbish owing to a dilapidated fleet were only 22 of 47 vehicles are functional.

“The budget for football in Harare is ridiculous. We cannot be giving a team $2 million while the core mandate of council is suffering,” Manyenyeni said.

“With the amount that we spend every year on soccer, we could buy 22 refuse compactors at $100 000 each. If the team was supported with

$100 000 it would be better.

“Since we came into office, council has used $5 million on football alone and that money could have been used for the benefit of the city.

“The team is not even performing well to justify the amount being spent on them. Management has refused to bring down the budget because they have vested interests in the club.”

In a letter he wrote to the city’s football club chairperson Alois Masepe in December last year, Manyenyeni said the budget could not be supported anymore by ratepayers.

“We have noted that another municipality provides only $100 000 for its soccer team and that the average annual budget for the premier league is below $300 000 per annum. Please accept that this is more compelled by the dire financial pressures council is reeling under,” read part of Manyenyeni’s letter.   

In March, Manyenyeni quit as the patron of Harare City arguing that there was a clear abuse of ratepayers funds at the club.

He argued that pre-season fitness jaunts in resort towns were not justifiable for a club sponsored by a council which was failing to pay its workers.

In 2014, Borrowdale councillor Allan Markham resigned as the city’s finance committee chairperson, arguing that the budget to sponsor the football team was ‘‘an amazing folly’’ when the city could not afford any support to its amenities.

Since promotion to the premier league in 2011, Harare City has only won the Chibuku Super Cup in 2015.

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