HCC violating govt ban on workshops

HARARE - Councillors and officials at the Harare City Council (HCC) are still holding workshops outside the capital city in spite of a government directive forbidding them from funnelling ratepayers’ money on out-of-town junkets.

The Harare Residents Trust (HRT) revealed to the Daily News yesterday that 61 council officials and councillors recently attended a workshop in Kadoma, convened by the Health, Housing and Community Services and Licensing Committee.

HRT alleged an average of $2 000 was spent on each individual who attended the workshop, allegations denied by mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni. “Most of the officials and councillors refused to check-in in the hotel saying they have relatives to stay with in their bid to save money for their private use.

“They refused to have the money paid to the hotel, thus they lobbied to have the workshop in Kadoma and yet refused to be booked in the hotel,” HRT said.

HRT also claimed that more than $30 000 was also spent on workshops in Vumba, Victoria Falls, Matopos and Uganda, while calling on the ministry of Local Government to intervene before councillors and officials could bleed Town House dry.

The trust said it was ironic that some of the councillors actually want to be re-elected into office on July 30, yet they are facilitating bogus workshops funded by ratepayers’ money.

According to the latest housing committee minutes, Manyenyeni had objected to the Kadoma workshop but was told that bookings and reservations were at an advanced stage and could not be reversed.

Yesterday, Manyenyeni said the issue of external workshops was a painful culture that has permeated council.

“If you host them in Harare they simply do not attend. Officials get higher than councillors. I think between $60 and $100 per day. We get $10 per day. There is a formal ban countrywide on away workshops and it is nearly three years old. Both the ministry and myself have tried to stop or at least limit such outings with little success,” Manyenyeni said.

He said for the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe workshop in Victoria Falls, delegates received a total of $230 inclusive of meals and out-of-pocket allowances.

Manyenyeni said the option to stay outside of the conference hotel was standard and giving a lower rate than that of the hotel was also standard.

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