Harare splurges $10m on salaries

Clr Manyenyeni

Clr Manyenyeni

Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni has claimed that employment costs are the “big elephant” crippling council operations as even low level employees are paid two to five times more than their counterparts in similar jobs elsewhere, inflicting on the municipality a monthly salary bill of $10 million.

At a meeting with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Mayor Manyenyeni appealed to the Government to take over the salary bill as it was unsutatinable for the city. Permanent secretary Mr George Magosvongwe reportedly told him “there was no commitment to that”.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting at Town House recently, Mayor Manyenyeni said it was easy to appreciate executive costs with which people were familiar but said these constituted only 3 percent of council’s wage bill.

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“Just illustrations, which I believe are sustainable across the entire council payroll, I will indicate that a council municipal guard or patrolman costs the city $1 057 per month while a ZRP (officer) costs (Government) just $400 per month, which is 2,5 times higher,” he said.

“A council nursing sister costs the city $1 527 while a Government nursing sister (earns) just over $500, that is more than three times. A private clinic sister earns between $650 and $1 000. Other indications are that a council farm guard costs $907.”

HARARE CITY COUNCIL PAY NEW

He said a messenger costs council $520, a driver $899, heavy-duty driver $1 058 and a municipal sergeant $1 266. All this, he said, translates to nearly $10 million coming from between $12 million and $13 million collected.

He said the city had other obligations for overdue amounts which must be serviced at $6 million a month, including electricity costs of $1,2 million per month.

Mayor Manyenyeni said the salaries were granted by Government in 2013 and the costs of the overpayments ranged from $3 million to $7 million or $150 million to $350 million for the past 50 months.

“Political will to fix this has been missing because the two main political parties represented in council have very strong labour backing. In 2014 I challenged management to secure a more trusted payroll system as ours suffers sustained mistrust,” he said.

“They got angry and reported me to (former) Minister (Ignatius) Chombo to have my knuckles rapped. Three years later, we still have an in-house payroll which no one outside council will ever trust,” he said.

Mayor Manyenyeni said he had suspended Acting Town Clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube and three other directors following a tribunal finding and that he was set to appoint a disciplinary committee to handle the matter.

“I had a meeting with the Ministry (Local Government, Public Works and National Housing), at which the ministry expressed its desire to see the matter concluded with speed.”

He said he had suggested that Government takes over the salary payments for two to three years while the city recovers from its financial mess.

“The ministry found the suggestion to be different and they will examine it for merit,” he said.

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  • Lloyd Madoka

    Vanhu ngavatambire mari dzavo.CAPEX should have its own budget. You can do BOT private-public partnerships we cant hv pple an below PDL just for development no.Govt workers earn under PDL and what development has happened ?

    • Takson

      even when council does not have the money, The standard in such situations is that employment costs should not exceed 40% of revenue,

      • Trusst Hwiridzo

        That is proper economics. The core business of council is not paying salaries. They must have the money to do it. Service Delivery then healthy coffers then good salaries. Painful decisions must be made at council and for a shortwhile

      • Goritoto LP

        dont bother responding to Lloyd Madoka anenge mhunu wekanzuru. that bill is unsustainable, its pathetic, whoever approved that bill should explain to the minister why he/she did that. 10Mil vs 12mil.

    • Gandanga

      Ita mushe! Pa $13 million $10 ikaenda kuma salary ma chemicals anotengwa nei? Munhu wese ngaakwane mu budget. Kana nyika ne kanzuru isina mari even mayor wedu ngaakwite taxi to Rezende and walk to town house mvura iripo. How can u argue to luxuries pasina mvura a basic right?

      • TruthHurts!

        Manyenyeni ngaaite retrench ma-party ‘faithfuls’ akaitwa ‘recruit’ naMudzuri achiri Exec/Mayor zvino-’saver’ mari. Vazhinji vacho chikoro paribe ingori ‘Save this, Save that’ pabasa! Harare i-constituency yeMDC ngaande ku-party yake vaite ‘information blitz about the danger’ yekusabhadhara ma-rates and ‘how this impacts on service delivery’! Kutadza nekuita-wo ‘print’ ma-flyers anoitwa ‘hand post ‘mudzimba nekuiswa muma-clinics, zvikoro nepamisika anobatsira ‘to educate and conscientise people on the importance of paying their rates’? Chii nhai? Vanhu vaisimboseka ‘what are now the halcyon days of Solomon ‘KakaCola’ Tavengwa’ ngavachiseka-ka manje. Izvi zvinoto chemedza mai! Manyenyeni ngaaudze vanhu kuti vavekunwa mvura inematoto! Vakazviziva chete zvaitwa ‘communicate through official channels’ vazhinji vavo vanotanga kubhadhara ‘because it will explain things like’ gwembe rinobata vana nehumwe hurwere. Vanhu vanobhadhara kungoti chete Manyenyeni haasati azvitaura ‘officially’! He should also encourage ma-residence/ratepayers associations anobatsira pakudzidzisa vanhu nezvebasa reKanzuru ‘and explaining why’ zvichinzi ‘chemahara mushana’!

  • Mimi

    Mayor Manyenyeni’s cry to have government take over the Council workers’ salaries is not a good suggestion at all. The best solution would be for him to call for the reduction of Council worker’s salaries to match government workers’ salaries! because that way employee is at par. If he managed to suspend Acting Town Clerk Josephine & three Directors, then he can surely pull off the reducing the salaries of Council employees downwards instead of mourning to have government to take over when government itself is on a crusade to fire and send the over 65 years’ old for retirement. His cry is therefore unreasonable.

    • Progressive Zimbabwean

      The problem is government has previously vetoed his decisions. However, I agree with you that since he has managed to fire those directors who have previously been shielded by both Chombo and Kasukuwere he could be able to reduce the salaries. A lot of things have been wrong in this country. You should see how kombi drivers and mushikashikas have turned the city roads into death traps. This is because they had been let loose by a corrupt police force under Chihuri. A lot needs to be fixed in this country and it is a daily 24 hour job.

      • Masvingo Zimuto

        True

  • eliasha

    This peoples Mayor once upon a time recommended a revision downwards of these salaries but he was stopped dead in his tracks by the former Minister, so the new caretaker government must push for Executive Mayors who make and implement decision which there should be judged upon.

  • Zimbabwean

    Fix the salaries first to match government rates then ask for help

    • stan

      Number 1,Salaries must be realistic not only for council guards.The mayor himself must have his salary adjusted first,it is an huge figure.Number 2 we need our own currency to be able to address the issue of salaries, we are looking at the US$ like our Zim $ we had before economic meltdown.

      • Progressive Zimbabwean

        The Mayor’s salary is actually pathetic. He used to earn something around $500 and it is now around $1 000.

  • Gandanga

    dangerous talk! Government assuming the wage bill?

  • Progressive Zimbabwean

    Bernard Manyenyeni has always spoken sense but has been caught up in partisan politics from both his party the MDC and Zanu PF. He has not been able to execute some of his decision and it is known that both Chombo and to a lesser extent Kasukuwere would get into a bare knuckle fight with him at every twist and turn. I think the new leadership should just give him a chance to act without hindrance. A municipal policeman earns more than three times a ZRP officer and we expect to progress as a country? There has always been a need to rationalise these earnings and such drastic decisions need to be made with haste to avoid further bleeding. I am convinced that the current leadership would support such a move as it resonates with the president’s vision. Harare City Council has had three good mayors who have not been able to function because they belonged to a political party and these are Mudzuri, Much Masunda and the current mayor. In the private sector huge salaries pegged soon after dollarisation were rationalised within 12 months when it was realised by various companies that they were not sustainable. What stops council from doing that with immediate effect? In fact the salaries being paid to a municipal security guard are way above those earned by degreed professional insurance underwriters and degreed bankers at Old Mutual, Zimnat, Barclays, Zb Bank and Standard Chartered and this certainly needs to be corrected.

  • eish

    The Mayor once recommended for the council salaries to be reduced after voicing concern on comparison between the council security salaries and those of ZRP and the then Minister thundered, ‘who do you think you are Mr Mayor to reduce salaries etc”, the new Mayor and councillors must have teeth or else a ruling party must run the affairs of the council and in any case residents were now seeing through this and incluidng vendors there know who is to blame in affairs of the Council and it was none other than the Minister and the President then.

  • Ray Mbada

    unsutatinable

  • Ray Mbada

    There is a missing link here. The man knows what he wants to say but he has decided to say it the other way. Where is our national Poverty Datum Line pointing at today? Government was oppressively paying its employees bellow this line because the greed ministers wanted room to enrich themselves, and today we are expecting the current President to take a look into this. So the man here is reminding the Government that civil Servants are languishing in poverty. Chombo did it the other way, he would make sure all workers get something to smile about and hence got assisted in his corruption crimes.

  • Kimberly Mangwende

    Guys lets be serious. These are not obscene salaries. These , i believe are modest salaries when we look at the cost of living in Zimbabwe. It only means that the gvt wages are too low and thus need to be increased to be at par with what HCC is offering. How does a government police officer survives on a paltry $400.00? These low salaries are a breeding ground for corruption.

    • G5

      Fair and fine. How much rates are you willing to pay and how much are you paying now? How much are you paying for ‘sewer water’ per month and how much are you willing to pay going forward so that council at least breaks even?

    • Progressive Zimbabwean

      These are in actual fact obscene salaries. What is disturbing is that they take up to 80% of the revenue generated. Who employs these workers? It is the rate payers. They are employed so that they work for them in the provision of water, sanitation, the provision of roads etc. If these essential is not being provided then these workers must not receive a payment. So the other alternative will be to lay off 70% of the workforce and apply to the relevant ministry not to pay any retrenchment package pleading insolvency or bankruptcy. In fact private sector salaries of some professionals in reputable blue chip companies earn far less than what is earned by a council nurse. Let us be reasonable people and put on our thinking caps.

  • Mega salaries

    Those are obscene salaries by any other definition. Please City of Harare, Stop it, forthwith.

  • Freddie

    When we compare salaries, why not compare with countries in the region? It does not make sense to compare salaries, where most of them are well below poverty datum line.

    • Progressive Zimbabwean

      But how do you compare yourself with countries whose economies are thriving? The minimum wage in Ethiopia is $30 in case you didn’t know. I have travelled across Africa and have noted that earnings beyond and equivalency of $500 are earned by less than 10% of the employed population. In fact Zimbabwe has very high salaries but this view is toned down when one considers that our products and services are way too expensive. Nevertheless, it is important that salaries reflect the state of the economy. For a security guard to be earning more than $1000 when private sector security guards are earning $250 is absurd to say the least.

  • Disinterested Bystander

    Those are insane salaries, but the legal and labor battles to reduce those salaries are a hindrance. Not sure how they can navigate the legal mine field. Its ridiculous to have recurrent costs reach 90% of the budget. ko service delivery ne capital projects zvino financenzwa nei! Austerity cut those salaries, rate payers are suffering. Populism dze politics should be of the bygone era!! “lets hit the ground running”, not sure in which direction though!!

  • kepekepebhora

    and you’re surprised why police officers are corrupt when they are so underpaid