Let there be sunshine again

HARARE - Harare City Council (HCC) recently moved to slash salaries of its senior managers in a move which it said was in line with its policy of channelling most of its revenue towards service delivery rather than on consumption and salaries.

Whether this would be implemented remains to be seen.

Five years ago, Cabinet issued a directive that local authorities should spend 70 percent of their revenues on improving service delivery and 30 percent on salaries.

This was never implemented and instead, ratepayers were stunned by staggering salaries that some of the directors at the HCC were earning.

However, it must be said that slashing salaries of  bosses is encouraging as the HCC is finally realising that it cannot continue on a path that is unsustainable — living outside its means and ignoring gaping holes in its service delivery plan — both  which are at the heart of their problems with the ratepayers.

It must be noted that the HCC, just like any other company operating in Zimbabwe, has been adversely impacted by the economic meltdown which continues to claim the scalps of many employees and employers.

The HCC is struggling to improve service mainly because it is owed millions of dollars by defaulting consumers who include struggling companies.

Individual consumers in the impoverished Harare suburbs are saddled with huge debts and they are either widows or victims of company closures.

This is a difficult situation that is confronting the HCC and many other local authorities but life has to go on and people must pay their bills to help build better cities.

It is important that the HCC must come up with a revenue collection plan and debt recovery strategies that do not frustrate its efforts of raising money for improving service delivery but while also respecting the rights of its debtors.

At times we are our own worst enemies.

There is no need to let debts pile because there is no proper service delivery or there are intermittent water cuts.

A strong consumer is one who pays up the bills and aggressively demands world-class service delivery commensurate with the rates they are paying.

That’s why it is never a justification for a ratepayer or industrial consumer to boycott paying bills on account of lack of service delivery.

And similarly, it is never proper to divert ratepayers’ money to what it is never intended.

HCC and the ratepayers need to find each other and make Harare shine again.

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.