Councils fail to meet deadline

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Councils fail to meet deadline 
Local Government and Public Works Minister Daniel Garwe

Blessings Chidakwa

Herald Reporter

MOST local authorities have failed to meet yesterday’s deadline set by President Mnangagwa to submit their development masterplans.

Apart from the masterplans, the local authorities were also supposed submit functional Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) strategies and valuation rolls.

President Mnangagwa last November issued a directive for all local authorities to submit the masterplans when he launched a blueprint dubbed, “The call to Action — No Compromise to Service Delivery”.

Central Government considers planning as a serious issue for local authorities, particularly to curb the emergence of unplanned settlements around the country, mostly in urban areas.

Emphasising that the Government was not compromising on service delivery, the President also directed all local authorities to have fully fledged planning departments by yesterday, and to the satisfaction of the Local Government and Public Works Ministry.

Local Government and Public Works Minister Daniel Garwe yesterday said some councils had submitted their masterplans while others failed to meet the deadline.

“The deadline was June 30, 2024. Some councils have already submitted their masterplans as of last Friday,” he said.

Minister Garwe declined to reveal the consequences for the local authorities that failed to meet yesterday’s deadline.

Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume yesterday claimed that the council’s masterplan was ready although several stakeholders, including residents, wanted more consultations.

It is understood that Bulawayo City Council has already submitted its masterplan.

Chitungwiza Municipality spokesperson, Mr Tafadzwa Kachiko, admitted that the local authority had failed to meet the deadline.

“We have failed to meet the deadline and we have since applied for an extension. We have submitted our inception report and other documents detailing the ground we have covered so far. We have already started studying our planning area,” he said. 

The “Call to Action — No Compromise to Service Delivery” blueprint exhorts all local authorities to adhere to guidelines that ensure the provision of efficient services, in line with the country’s quest to attain a middle-income economy by 2030.

According to the blueprint, the President will chair a bi-annual review meeting to assess the performance of all local authorities, in a move aimed at arresting the deteriorating service delivery in towns and cities.

During the launch of the blueprint, President Mnangagwa said incompetent and corrupt council officials should be sacked as central Government will not tolerate a deterioration in service delivery, particularly in cities and towns.

The President said local authorities should speedily develop a roadmap towards vision 2030, to improve the lives of people, adding that 2024 council budgets will not be approved unless they demonstrate achievable and acceptable levels of service delivery.

President Mnangagwa has already appointed a commission to look into how the Harare City Council has been running its affairs since 2017. The commission is headed by retired High Court judge, Justice Maphios Cheda. 

Service delivery has deteriorated to alarming levels in urban areas, particularly in Harare which has been characterised by water supply challenges, uncollected garbage, potholed roads and dysfunctional street lights and haphazard settlements in recent years.

A masterplan is an overall land use planning document, which constitutes policies and strategies on how land should be used and how developments should occur, particularly looking at water supply, road networks, housing provision, environmental management and transportation.

The masterplan should contain aerial photographs, illustrations, maps, reports and statistical information to support the planning vision.