‘Harare City Council bosses  still earning mega perks’ Dr Mahachi


Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Top executives at Harare City Council are still earning mega salaries four months after Government set the $6 000 cap for salaries and perks per month for parastatal and local authorities’ bosses.
According to a schedule provided by Government in March this year, Harare City Council town clerk, Dr Tendai Mahachi, earns about $23 300 per month in basic salary and benefits.

Government set the ceiling in March this year, after it emerged that heads of State entities were paying themselves “obscene” salaries and perks at the expense of service delivery. This was taken as a temporary measure while pending finalisation of a comprehensive salary structure being crafted by the Cabinet Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals Development.

But it is understood that most State entities were yet to abide by the directive because there has been no formal communication.

Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Rural and Urban Development yesterday, Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni, said the mega salaries remained in place because there was no formal communication from Cabinet on the development.

Zanu-PF legislator for Mutasa South, Cde Irene Zindi, chairs the committee.

“No salary cuts that have been done so far,” said Mayor Manyenyeni.

“There are plans being talked about that a directive will come from Government on salary cuts. That development is shrouded in poor traction. It’s not moving. We don’t know whether that decision was well thought out. Is it going to be progressive or not? We look forward to having our own decisions being subordinate to that process. At the moment we don’t know if that salary cut will be implemented and when?”

Cde Zindi interjected arguing there was a Cabinet interim measure of $6000 salary cap per month and demanded to know if the local authority adhered to the directive.

But Mayor Manyenyeni said: “We are not privy to any formal communication bringing that $6 000 interim salary cap into force. If it has been favoured to other ministries, we beg that our own ministry be favoured that it cascades to us and others if at all it’s in force.”

Announcing the interim measure in March, chairperson of the Cabinet Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals Development and Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, indicated that the new measures were with immediate effect.

Efforts to get a comment from Minister Chinamasa were fruitless but a senior Government official said the Cabinet Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals Development was still consulting on the modalities of implementing the measure.

Mayor Manyenyeni also told the committee that zimra ordered a garnish order against them on June 13 but lifted it on Monday this week.

He said the authority owed its staff three months salaries. MPs queried why Harare City Council leased its beer halls for other people to make money when they could do the business themselves.

But Mayor Manyenyeni said it was not a viable business venture since tenants were also struggling to pay rentals as a result of poor performance.

“Instead, at the moment churches appear to be a lucrative business so we could consider leasing to them but liquor business is not performing, which is the reason we are owed more than $2 million by tenants,” said Mayor Manyenyeni.

He reiterated that management at the local authority were incompetent arguing that the mayor should be given adequate authority to discipline any staffer who fails to deliver than the status quo where he is just operating ceremonially.

Mayor Manyenyeni said the probe team into how the $144, 4 million loan from the Chinese Export and Import Bank was spent was expected to give him the report today (yesterday). Concern has been raised on the high cost of material in the Chinese loan deal with a report by a consultant engineer last year indicating that council could have been prejudiced of up to $100 million through overcharging.

Apart from that council management went on to buy 25 luxury vehicles from the loan funds without following laid down procedures.
Mayor Manyenyeni implored Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo, to support the local authority when it makes decisions that benefits rate payers.

He said the deal between City of Harare and Augur Investments was shrouded in controversy because the former was the loser in the deal. In 2008, the council entered into a barter deal with Augur Investments that courted controversy after the City agreed to transfer 733,9 hectares of land for the construction of the 34km Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo (Airport) Highway.

Mayor Manyenyeni said the construction of the road was estimated to cost about $80 million with Harare City Council and Government availing about $40 million worth of land for the project.

The Zimbabwe National Roads Administration has since been tasked by Government to complete the project and yesterday Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Obert Mpofu, toured the road to assess progress made so far.


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