Councils must mimic govt on austerity

HARARE - Most urban councils countrywide are holding pre-budget consultations with key stakeholders in their respective areas. These are expected to give a general direction to the budgets the local authorities are likely to come up with.

However, given the position on austerity the President Emmerson Mnangagwa-led government has laid out, it is important for local authorities — most of whom have often been found wanting in as far as balancing service delivery and revenue collection — to steer away from current trends where recurrent expenditure in the form of salaries and perks consume the greatest chunk of revenue collected.

Not only have councils employed heavily in the past with successive local authorities over-employing as they try to “pay” residents for voting them in, but executives have also been guilty of paying themselves very high salaries and perks at the expense of service delivery.

Harare — which is the country’s capital and should obviously be exemplary — has been battling a cholera outbreak that has so far claimed the lives of around 50 people.
Although Glen View and Budiriro have been the epi-centre of the current outbreak, the highly-infectious diarrheal disease has already spread to other parts of the country.

The consumption of contaminated water in Glen View and Budiriro reportedly caused the current outbreak. Supply of safe water remains the prerogative of local authorities and as such, when epidemics like this one occur, the blame will squarely fall on the shoulders of councils whose priorities are largely skewed.

Residents must demand that councils provide adequate services. Besides water supply, there are other areas like sewer bursts over which several urban councils have been criticised.

As they formulate their budgets, there is need to look at these pertinent issues of water supply and sewer as well as refuse disposal because they remain central to the capacity of councils to contain disease outbreaks. Central government has announced the need for austerity implying that councils do serious self-introspection aimed at sanitising their operations.

There is no need for Zimbabweans to be dying of Stone Age afflictions like cholera in this day and age when all that is needed is to revamp existing water and sewer infrastructure. With this in mind, they should approach central government with minds that are clear on why they are in office. The bulk of money collected must be channelled towards service delivery, not the pockets of executives.

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.