Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Government has ordered Harare City Council to restore law and order in housing and land allocation as well as urgently tackle the water crisis as it impacts on the health of residents.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo yesterday led a strong delegation which included permanent secretary Mr George Magosvongwe and principal director (urban local authorities) Ms Erica Jones to Town House where they held a closed door meeting for close to four hours with Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni and city management.
Minister Moyo, who was rushing to another “urgent meeting”, directed questions to Mr Magosvongwe, who said the Government had given the local authority 100-day targets to implement.
“For purposes of coordination of Government 100-day programme and Government wish to improve service provision in the city and in the country in general, the focus was on matters related to water provision. Harare city must take the subject seriously because it impacts on development and the living standards of the people. It is an obligation that all local authorities must provide,” said Mr Magosvongwe.
“They are at the apex of local government matrix or pyramid. Harare City Council, because it is the capital city, mirrors the image of the country.
“It also reflects the images of all the others, the sum total of the local authorities that we have. So, we want Harare to be a model city that leads by example,” he said.
He said they had also discussed matters relating to urban planning following the proliferation of illegal settlements and a breakdown of law and order as land barons became the planning authorities.
Mr Magosvongwe said co-operatives had also created chaos and caused a lot of grief to members by failing to deliver after taking people’s money.
He said this had raised the country’s unhappiness index, painting a negative image of Zimbabwe as a whole.
“What we have been saying to Harare is, let us restore law and order in relation to housing, industrial development ownership of land and in relation to the rating system because that is your source of funding for all the services that you must provide,” he said.
“In relation to the licensing system, your shops, your factories, they all attract a service so they must pay licences. At the end of the day, we have been saying Harare must not just come back to its Sunshine city status.
“It must create a new culture that enables futuristic vision to emerge so that we do not sit on the 50-year plan we inherited from colonialism, but we have a futuristic plan for the development of the country as a whole visioning on the model that Harare will set.”
He said local authorities should discharge the functions they are required to do in terms of existing legislation because they are a service provider and must guarantee the living standards and improve them.
“Otherwise, they are not worth the ballot paper they were elected on. We are saying performance, performance and specific substantive product must come of the local authority system.
“For us as a ministry, it is the fusion of a new culture.
“It is the motivation of the employees that we have in the ministry and in the local authorities so that as we change the performance culture, we are also guaranteed to improve the basic living standard our people,” he said.