Councillors slam Harare mayor

HARARE - Harare councillors have slammed Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni, accusing him of siding with “rogue residents’ associations” after he refused to approve the local authority’s 2018 budget.

During a full council meeting on Tuesday, Manyenyeni said he would not append his signature on the $269,3 million budget, insisting he would only do so after the issue of council bosses awarding themselves hefty salaries and allowances was addressed.

According to the proposed budget, $114,8 million would go towards salaries and allowances, while the remainder will be channelled towards service delivery — an apportionment that violates the prescribed 30:70 salary/service delivery ratio.

“Essentially, the reason I am not signing is about misaligned costs of fuel, decentralisation, workshops and travel, exorbitant funding of sport and manpower costs,” Manyenyeni argued.

“I will also be waiting for the Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) to also make their submissions on their disapproval of the budget. I have suffered the agony of putting a signature on these budgets every year and things do not come through,” he said.

He argued that the budget consultations were mere formalities as residents and ratepayers were not given ample time to participate.

But that did not go down well with Rugare councillor Peter Moyo who said he was disappointed by Manyenyeni for allowing residents associations to lead him.

Moyo said the disapproval of the budget by the associations was surprising considering that they were present during the consultative process.

“We cannot operate a council in this manner. When we told them about the meetings they did not come. This will take us back and as a council we cannot operate without a budget because it will mean other services will be negatively affected,” Moyo said.

Glen View councillor Wellington Chikombo weighed in accusing Manyenyeni of being “captured by rogue individuals” who claimed to be representing the interests of residents.

Chikombo said “if individuals are masquerading as residents’ organisations and elected officials take them seriously then the city is doomed”.

In a letter to Manyenyeni objecting to the budget, Chra chief executive Mfundo Mlilo, said many of the meetings were poorly attended and some cancelled due to short notices and poor communication.

He said council also did not present a comprehensive statement of needs highlighting what the residents want in their budget.

Mlilo pointed out that the budget lacks focus as it does not have any policies to stimulate growth of the local economy.

Adding that the budget is just an empty statement or at best, a list of projects that the city seeks to embark on in 2018.

“On the substantive matters, we note with concern that the presented budget has failed to comply with the ministerial directive on the management of service delivery and administration costs, that is, the 70:30 principle.

“The budget proposes a salaries and admin budget of $116,6m about 44 percent of the total budget. This is completely unacceptable considering the current state of service delivery.”

“The budget for 2018 is $50,2m capital and $269,3m operating budget. This translates to an average expected collection rate of $20 million a month. This is unrealistic considering that for the last three years, collections have averaged about $13 million a month. We appreciate that the city budgets from potential revenue but this makes no sense if there are no clear proposals to stimulate growth of the revenues,” he said.

 

Comments (1)

Harare's budget $269m, Toronto's budget $14B. Same population, sort of. Shame maningi stereki. I'm with Manyenyeni on this one. The fools want to use almost half the budget for salaries? Zim is broken for real. Eish. We are all copying el duche and his wife at the top

Moe Syslack - 5 November 2017

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