Manyenyeni only being realistic

HARARE - The solo war Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has started at the City of Harare is one he may not win easily.

The Harare mayor is reportedly planning to slash wages for council employees, ostensibly because they are too exorbitant and gobble a significant chunk of revenue meant for service delivery.

Previously, Manyenyeni has bemoaned the state of the capital city’s revenue collection versus expenditure — the bulk of which is not going towards service delivery as expected in ideal situations — arguing it called for a rethink on the part of the city fathers and even government, to restore order at councils.

While government has already done its part by imposing salary caps for top local authority officials in the country, the issue of compliance has not been followed through. In 2014, government capped the salary and perks for managers of State-owned entities and city council bosses at a total of $72 000 per annum, representing a huge cut for some executives, who were raking in up to $500 000 a year.

At the time of dollarisation in 2009, Harare — together with many other local authorities and State-owned entities — remained stuck in the Zimdollar era, pegging salaries they could not sustain in light of their revenue collection.

An audit by the Local Government ministry last year revealed that directors were still paying themselves in excess of $12 000 per month each.

For Manyenyeni and those that call the shots at council, it is important to ensure that there is compliance on the part of the top officials first before the programme is cascaded to include shop floor workers.

That way, the outcry over possible salary cuts as a way of improving operations of council may be averted.

Like other organisations in the country, councils are struggling to meet their overheads, including recurrent expenditure because of the economic meltdown but that should not be justification for poor service delivery.

The bulk of councils’ recurrent expenditure goes towards salaries and allowances for top executives, while residents are putting up with garbage in their environs, and going for weeks on end without water.

Meanwhile, local authorities are expected to account for every cent they receive from ratepayers through the provision of satisfactory service to residents, which includes timely collection of refuse as well as effective solid waste disposal among others.

Manyenyeni — who is being plain realistic — needs support but obviously he has to ensure top officials take the salary cuts imposed by the ministry and begin to prioritise service delivery in their areas of jurisdiction.

Comments (1)

The Mayor is right! We don't pay rates and taxes to enrich 'fatcats'.

citizen - 29 August 2017

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