Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Harare City Council is targeting to break cartels within and outside council that have been pocketing millions of dollars from council properties, depriving the city of much-needed revenue.
Some politicians have been conniving with council officials to deprive the city of revenue from Mupedzanhamo, Mbare Musika and other markets in Highfield.
The city recently regained control of Carter and Paget houses in Mbare, 10 years after it lost the buildings to an infamous violent outfit called Chipangano.
The city lost over $3,6 million in revenue during the years when the buildings were under the control of Chipangano, whose leaders pocketed all the money paid by tenants.
The buildings were reclaimed during an operation to bring order and sanity to the city, which also saw the demolition of illegal structures that were congesting the city’s oldest suburb.
Town Clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango said the city was continuing with its programme to bring sanity across the city.
Harare Mayor Councillor Herbert Gomba said the city was seeking to improve its revenue collection and should collect at least $21 million monthly instead of $12 million.
“We as council leadership must fight cartels within council which have been in existence for long and (depriving) council of revenue for use on service delivery. Council must get around $21 million per month,” he said.
“What we are doing now with my team is to increase revenue through breaking cartels and giving targets to divisional managers, traffic police, markets, leases, rates, housing management, advertising, licences and districts in order to bring more to do service and contain costs.”
Clr Gomba said he had information to the effect that in Mbare, vendors were paying thousands of dollars to politicians who lost elections last year, but now acting as “space barons”.
He said in Highfield a “space baron” had managed to marry six wives thanks to the thousands of dollars he got from unsuspecting vendors.
“There are so many workers who have captured revenue streams starting with municipal traffic, markets and leases. Again we must ensure we resuscitate all revenue sources traditionally used by council to get money from if we are to realise our dream for a world class city. This will ensure we don’t increase rates,” said Clr Gomba.
“Those unable to meet the targets will be arraigned before the Human Resources Committee because to us it is about serving our people. Surely, you cannot expect us to work with employees who make other employees go for long without salaries and get joy from it. Those in revenue mobilisation sectors must work and work.”