Innocent Ruwende Municipal Reporter—
Harare City Council has sent acting town clerk Dr Cainos Chingombe on forced leave, barely a week after his appointment to allow for investigations on allegations of defying Government’s directive to cut executive salaries last year.Health Services director Dr Prosper Chonzi has meanwhile been appointed acting town clerk.
According to an audit report sanctioned by the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ministry, seven council executives continued to earn between $12 000 and $21 000 from October 2014 to June 2015 against $10 450 for the highest earner as stipulated by the Government.
This, the report said, prejudiced the city of over $550 000. However, the council could have been prejudiced of millions considering that over 40 managers also benefited.
The salaries issue has seen Harare chamber secretary Mrs Josephine Ncube, who was also acting town clerk, being sent on forced leave.
Councillors yesterday held a special full council meeting with an amended agenda in which they resolved to send on forced leave only signatories, a departure from an earlier plan to send all substantive directors on leave.
The first request for a special meeting read, “We, the undersigned councillors, do hereby make this request for a special meeting to urgently consider resolving to put acting town clerk Dr Cainos Chingombe, director Health Services Dr Prosper Chonzi, director of Works Eng Phillip Pfukwa, and acting Finance director Mr Tendai Kwenda on leave with full benefits for a period of three months or such other time as council may determine.”
However, Mr Tendai Kwenda was not part of the signatories.
The meeting was held in committee as it involved human resources matters.
Briefing the media after the meeting, Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said the amendment to the agenda arose from the need to manage the matter with minimum disruption to council business.
“Any attempt to have sent a bigger number of our officials on leave would have derailed council services and operations, so we find ourselves in a situation where only the signatories are the ones who are proceeding on leave,” said Mayor Manyenyeni.
“There is an intention to manage the process as follows, I will be accompanied by the chief whips of both political parties (Zanu-PF and MDC-T) in council to a meeting with the minister to present our position as council,” he said.
Mayor Manyenyeni said council would initiate a process of evaluating the findings, which will be tabled before the Audit and the Human Resources and General Purposes Committees.
He said council would rely on the special audit report sanctioned by their parent ministry.
“We are looking at between two to three weeks to have managed the processes before us. The forced leave will be with full pay and benefits.”