Source: 2018 Harare service delivery pathetic: HRT | The Herald 31 DEC, 2018
Yeukai Karengezeka Herald Correspondent
The Harare Residents Trust (HRT) has described the performance of the City of Harare this year as pathetic after the local authority failed to adequately provide basic water, collect refuse and attend to roads.
Giving an overview of the year, HRT director Mr Precious Shumba said most residents went without water for the greater part of this year.
“The City of Harare failed dismally to provide adequate, quality potable water to residents. Only 45 percent of connected households out of the about 230 000 that are billed received water consistently throughout.
“This means that 55 percent of the connected households were fetching borehole water from private residences, community boreholes, shallow wells and private water companies that sell water.”
He urged the local authority to improve on refuse collection which was not consistent this year.
“We hope to see a change next year because refuse collection was erratic throughout the year, and the residents ended up creating illegal dumpsites in the communities, especially on street corners, business centres and open spaces. This contributed to the contamination and pollution of the environment,” he said.
Mr Shumba said ratepayers were reluctant to pay their bills because of the inconsistencies in service delivery.
“One of the main reasons residents do not pay their rates in full is because the City of Harare bills them for services which they are not receiving such as refuse collection. Hatfield, Msasa Park, Mabvuku, Glen Norah, Budiriro, Waterfalls and Kuwadzana are the worst affected refuse collections are incosistent,” he said.
HRT also lamented issue of corruption claiming that the City employed over 500 people over past five months on partisan lines.
“Despite claims that the council has insufficient funds to provide adequate services to the ratepayers, the partisan council recruited nearly 500 employees in the last five months, with most of the employees recruited a fortnight before elections and immediately after the 30 July 2018 elections.
“This compromises professionalism, effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of public services as these workers would be loyal to their benefactors than the ratepayers,” he said.
Mr Shumba said the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works, and National Housing should standardise the recruitment procedures for new employees in all local authorities to avoid abuse of power by certain individuals.
“We are calling on the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to standardise recruitment of employees in local authorities covering all grades to protect ratepayers and their funds from councillors who are more concerned with their interests than those of ratepayers
“If the Local Government Board is empowered to set these recruitment standards, things will change for the better,” said Mr Shumba.
On road rehabilitation, Mr Shumba said the city started off well but the momentum fizzled out.
“In terms of road rehabilitation, the City of Harare did not do well. They only did a few roads towards and immediately after elections, giving the impression that they were only doing things to impress the electorate.
“Communities have taken it upon themselves to try to repair their roads through pothole filling but the filling of potholes is inconsistent and not very professional,” said Mr Shumba.
He, however, applauded the new administration of town clerk engineer Hosiah Chisango for engaging all stakeholders.
“One of the positive things that came out of council was the willingness of the town clerk and his heads of departments to engage ratepayers.
“This is a major departure from the old guard who used to refuse to engage and disclose information concerning council operations.
“What remains is council’s heads of departments to fully disclose information related to council operations to stakeholders,” said Mr Shumba.