Government has approved the increase of monthly allowances for mayors and councillors by more than 200 percent.
According to a circular titled: “Financial Prudence” forwarded to all local authorities by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, the mayor of Harare will now pocket $ 1 250 per month, up from $450 while his deputy pockets $840, up from $350.
Harare city committee chairpersons will earn $560 with councillors getting $550 up from $300.
Bulawayo mayor will get $1000, his deputy $660, committee chairpersons $450 and councillors $400. Mayors of other cities will pocket $840, their deputies $550, committee chairpersons $370 and councillors $350.
Mayors of municipalities will be awarded $600, while their deputies will receive $400. Municipality committee chairpersons will receive $360, councillors $300. Towns and local boards mayors will get $560 and their deputies will earn $350.
Their committee chairpersons will receive $300 while councillors will get $250. Lupane/Chirundu mayors will get $350, deputies $280, committee chairpersons $240 and councillors $200.
The highest paid councillor in all local authorities was pocketing $477 ,while the lowest took home $80 a month while Members of Parliament take home more than $1 900.
Government hopes to eradicate corruption and limit unnecessary workshops that have been used by local authorities as personal fund raising schemes.
This comes after Government recently banned local authorities from holding workshops and conferences outside their jurisdiction to contain travel and accommodation related expenses that gobble thousands of dollars at the expense of service delivery.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Cde Saviour Kasukuwere said most local authorities were being extravagant on seminars while service delivery was deteriorating.
Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni who is also the Urban Council’s Association of Zimbabwe(UCAZ) president welcomed the move and said the ceremonial titles no longer apply in terms of councillors’ actual involvement in council business.
“The new figures were handed to the mayor of Masvingo and chairperson of Shurugwi on behalf of (UCAZ) this morning. The role and financial demands of councillors has changed over the years. It is now a real sacrifice as the environment no longer attracts retired businessmen to serve as councillors. Current councillors are sacrificing careers and families to deal with all manner of community issues,” he said.
Harare Residents Trust chairperson Mr Precious Shumba welcomed the development, but said the timing of the increases in allowances is inconsistent with the earnings of other council workers since council’s revenue base is shrinking.
“The rates approved for the mayors and councillors are appropriate since the mayor is an office that we believe should be executive so that the monitoring and implementation of council resolutions is expedited, However, at this stage it is an unnecessary burden to the ratepayers as well as service delivery since the policymakers will earn two salaries while most people are unemployed with most municipal employees being four months behind their salaries,” he said.
The ministry last year, suspended Gweru mayor, Hamutendi Kombayi, his deputy and 14 other councillors on allegations of gross misconduct and mismanagement of council funds and affairs.
In Harare, councillors and officials were fingered in shoddy deals, prejudicing council and residents. Others were accused of siphoning about $200 000 from the Harare Municipality Medical Aid Society.