Harare councillors, Works Department tangle over tall grass

HARARE - Tension between Harare City councillors and the city  Works Department has run almost as high as the unkempt grass raising their constituents’ ire.

An extremely rainy season has made grass grow faster.

Councillors fumed that staff have failed to mow the grass, which is resulting in muggings, rapings and road accidents.

During a full council meeting at Town House, Rugare councillor Peter Moyo fumed that a Lochinvar woman was gang-raped by five men in the tall grass.

“It is the rainy season and we understand that grass grows to great heights but it is also the duty of the city to ensure that the grass is cut.

“We are letting the ratepayers down by leaving things like this.

“Only recently, a woman was raped by five men in the tall grass. We need to stop this from happening,” Moyo fumed.

He said it was the duty of council to ensure people’s safety by making sure that everything that obstructs people’s view is removed including maize plants.

Budiriro councillor Panganai Charumbira told the meeting that council employees needed to take their jobs seriously.

He said no one in the works department was serious about ensuring that the city is free from long grass.

“I think we need to do something to those employees who do not carry out their duties diligently.

“We cannot be paying people for not working. We should be protecting our residents but instead we are putting them in harm’s way,” he said.

Harare Residents Trust (HRT) bemoaned the lack of interest in the grass cutting exercise arguing that more criminal activities will happen if it is not rectified.

HRT said despite the woman who was viciously raped, people are also falling prey to thieves who mug them in the thickets.

“As a matter of urgency, the city should seriously consider removing all those tall grasses and maize plants from road sides that obstruct people’s view.

“People are hiding in those bushes and pounce on innocent travellers.

“Criminal activities will run rampant if this issue is not addressed,” the pressure group said.

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