Tanaka Mahanya Features Writer
Government’s move to ban local authorities from conducting workshops or trainings outside their jurisdiction will curb rampant abuse of ratepayers’ money at the expense of service delivery, and ensure efficient use of resources to develop central business districts.
In a circular addressed to councils, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Acting Secretary Joseph Mhakayakora said Minister July Moyo authorised the restriction.
“The Honourable Minister has placed a restriction on the holding of workshops, seminars, training and similar events outside of the council’s jurisdiction in the case of urban councils and outside the administrative district in the case of rural district councils, unless authority to hold a function at an alternative venue has been sanctioned by the permanent secretary.”
The ban comes at a time City of Harare councillors have spent colossal amounts of money in out-of-town meetings, which could have been held locally to save on resources. Instead of improving on service delivery, council spends a lot of money on unnecessary trips.
They have held meetings in Victoria Falls, wasting a lot of money on travelling costs, instead of hosting their meetings at Town House, thus saving on hotel and other costs. According to the Harare City Council Human Resources and General Purposes Committee minutes of September 17 this year, 12 council employees attended the CIS Annual Conference 2019 held at the Elephant Hills Hotel, Victoria Falls, at a total cost of $124 790,00.
The shocking fact is that councillors travelled all the way to the resort town from Harare, choosing to profligately use the city’s resources for their own benefit, instead of serving the needs of residents.
In the same month, 21 engineers and one exhibitor showed up at the Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers (ZIE) congress held at the Monomotapa Hotel at a cost of $99 500,00.
Council could have sent at least two engineers to attend the congress, who would appraise the others on the proceedings, rather than having 21 people misuse ratepayers’ money.
Most streets in the city are full of potholes, but council extravagantly spends money on unnecessary trips to attend meetings, which could have been held in the capital.
Council is failing to construct vending malls to accommodate vendors, who have suddenly flooded the streets of Harare as Mupedzanhamo and other stalls are too cramped to house all of them. Because of Harare City Council’s negligence, some residential areas have gone for more than four months without water, leading to a diarrhoeal outbreaks in areas such as Warren Park.
Reportedly, in September last year, Harare councillors demanded iPads for use during council meetings to replace paper and keeping abreast with latest technological trends.
They threatened to boycott meetings if their demands were not met.
Thrifty use of funds will ensure that council fulfils its mandate of putting in place systems that will see residents getting clean drinking water, appropriate housing, refuse collection and health facilities.