Fuel shortages stymie emergency response

HARARE - Harare City Council officials have said a critical shortage of fuel is hampering them from timeously responding to complaints from ratepayers.

At the 100-day review workshop on Wednesday, most council directors argued that apart from manpower problems, fuel was among their biggest challenges.

HCC has a 24-hour response time to water and sewer bursts. However, lately, some of these problems can take more than one month to fix.

“We attend to water bursts every day. However, we cannot be everywhere because of manpower issues and fuel problems that we face, so we have to prioritise other issues,” director of water Mabhena Moyo said.

Director of works Zvenyika Chawatama also corroborated what Moyo said arguing that most works problems were being left unattended because there was no fuel.

“Now that we have the vehicles, we hope to go to wherever we are called but fuel is the challenge. Of most of our targets, we manage to achieve slightly above 60 percent because of that,” he said.

Council has also blamed fuel shortages for the lethargy in garbage collection.

At his farewell press briefing, outgoing Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said small things like fuel shortages can make ratepayers lose confidence in council.

Manyenyeni said such instances where the city cannot carry out their mandate because they claim lack of fuel is one of the reasons why there is apathy by ratepayers to pay their bills.

“Council will be in a sticky situation because how can you ask people to pay for services that they do not see being provided for even after payment,” Manyenyeni said.
He said that unless council deals with the issue of salaries, such problems will persist.

Manyenyeni is on record arguing that the money council uses to sponsor trips, allowances and sporting activities could be used towards fuelling trucks and concomitantly improving  service delivery.

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