Council bigwigs milk Harare dry: Mayor

​Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni

Harare mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni, has admitted gross financial plunder at Town House which has seen service delivery neglected in the capital city.
Speaking during a stakeholders' meeting held last week, the mayor said Harare City Council's bloated wage bill and abuse of council coffers had negatively affected the local authority's ability to offer expected municipal and ancillary services, to expected levels.
Manyenyeni bemoaned council officials' obsession with amassing wealth.
He exposed top council officials who go on sprees of buying expensive vehicles and allocating themselves hefty workshop allowances at the expense of effective service delivery.
Manyenyeni said council officials held workshops outside Harare inorder to claim huge travel and subsistence allowances, yet the capital city had numerous facilities where such events could be hosted.
"It is surprising to see workshops being hosted outside Harare yet we have facilities to cater for that here. On top of that, you see officials being allocated hefty allowances for attending workshops outside Harare and all that is bleeding the council.
"Personally, I refused a $200 000 vehicle and I am now finishing my term on pool cars. At this moment, we cannot afford to buy expensive vehicles because it brings shame to us," said Manyenyeni.
He also deplored the poor work ethic at council which he said ought to change.
"There is need to change the work ethic at council from the high ranking to the low ranking worker. Presently, the work ethic at council is not pleasing at all," said Mayor Manyenyeni.
The mayor's remarks fly in the face of council officials' claims that poor service delivery was due to non-payment of dues by residents.
In a statement this week, the Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) alleged government departments, senior public officials and corporates were among the major debtors to council yet nothing had been done to bring these city clients to book.
"To add on to this is the issue of misplaced priorities which has resulted in council allocating over $5 million annually to sports at a time service delivery in Harare is at its lowest. It has to be noted that according to Harare Mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni, council's expenditure on sports is shrouded in secrecy ad controversy.
"In light of the mismanagement at council, Mayor Manyenyeni said the Harare City Council had no moral right or obligation to unleash debt collectors on residents," CHRA said.
Wellcash Debt Collectors were recently re-engaged by the Harare City Council to collect money owed by residents.
Of the $12million collected monthly by council, $10million goes towards paying salaries.
Mayor Manyenyeni reiterated CHRA's call for a debt audit saying most of the amounts residents reportedly owe were largely disputable hence council had no basis to demand money from residents. LOCAL

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