By Innocent Ruwende
Local authorities should be accountable and transparent and ensure that their financial accounts are up to date since they use public funds, Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) president and Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has said.
Speaking at the City of Harare Service Level Benchmarking exercise, Mayor Manyenyeni said local authorities should also become bankable organisations.
“Good corporate governance is at the heart of any successful organisation. It is essential for a company or organisation to achieve its objectives and drive improvement, as well as maintain legal and ethical standing in the eyes of regulators, stakeholders and the wider community,” he said.
“Governance is especially important in the public sector because you are dealing with the public’s money. I was most encouraged by the Zimbabwe Faith and Ethics Development Association, who last week offered to give seminars on ethics to mayors and councillors.”
Mayor Manyenyeni said the need for performance improvement plans cannot be overemphasised as it should be part of councils’ annual business plans which inform the budget.
“Let us continue improving the way we do business,” he said.
Acting Town Clerk Eng Hosiah Chisango said the programme was started by Government in 2012 with funding from the World Bank.
“Cities and towns review each other in terms of performance. We started with water and waste water and solid waste. This time, it has been extended to include corporate governance, roads and street lighting,” he said.
“We have got three days to do that. On the first day, we will carry out field visits. We will visit the water treatment plants, some selected roads and also our refuse disposal site in Pomona to check its condition.”
Under the programme, Eng Chisango said the city will then present on its water supply coverage, non-revenue water as well as how it does its financials.
Harare is being reviewed a team led by Masvingo Town Clerk Mr Adolf Gusha which also includes officials from Kwekwe, Gweru, Bulawayo City, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
UCAZ will gather data and rank all the local authorities in terms of service delivery.
Government through the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, started a service level benchmarking (SLB) project to monitor and improve service delivery in the urban water and sanitation sector.