Sunday Mail Reporter
The Harare City Council has rolled out a decentralisation programme that will see districts across the city providing localised services in a development geared towards improving service delivery.
Under the new strategy — drawn from Government’s devolution and decentralisation agenda — individual districts will now have direct control of their financial accounts. This is meant to curb revenue leakages and tender awarding irregularities. They will also be responsible for overseeing the provision of water and sewer services, road maintenance and mobilising residents to pay their bills.
In an interview, Harare Town Clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango said the city was embracing Government’s model of devolution and decentralisation to improve service delivery.
“Our structures are now inclined towards decentralisation and we are moving full throttle into decentralisation because we want every zone, every district, to be able to support itself in terms of revenues so that they can get the services,” Engineer Chisango said.
“Most of our work will now be done in districts. The head office will remain a strategic centre, but we want people to contribute as much as possible to their districts. Our councillors will also form clusters around their districts, discuss issues there and bring them to the full council meeting.”
In addition, he said, the local authority was working on introducing new measures to help with effectively collecting revenue and blocking leakages.
“We are preparing an anti-corruption policy and an integrity policy so that we can curb some of these issues and self-regulate,” Eng Chisango added.
“We have already crafted the policy and we are consulting the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to assist us in coming up with a policy that council subscribes to.”
“We recently uncovered issues such as the issuing of fake receipts by employees to defraud council and these are areas we need to tighten.
“During our interaction with the Ministry of Public Works recently, we found out that the assets we were hiring (for solid waste management) were more expensive than those from EMA. So, we are looking at curbing revenue leakages and tender awarding irregularities.”
Eng Chisango said council will soon procure a new accounting software system — the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) — to curb revenue leakages.
Council has been running without an ERP for years, which saw it failing to undertake financial audits.
“We hope by the end of the year. We will start installing a proper functioning and robust ERP system,” he said.
“This one is the critical element we are looking at because it speaks to revenue collection.”