HARARE mayor, Jacob Mafume, has accused the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) of failing to collect refuse since February after taking over waste management from the local authority.
Treasury disbursed funds to EMA to buy waste collection trucks and take over the management of solid waste after accusing the opposition-led council of incompetence in the management of waste.
Government followed that up with Statutory Instrument (SI) of 2023 recently, which gave EMA powers to manage refuse collection and solid waste within the Harare Metropolitan province local.
The SI enables EMA to subcontract private players, who will assist in providing the service to residents with the bill sent to Harare City Council.
In an interview, Mafume said EMA had failed to live up to its obligations even before the SI was gazetted.
“EMA is being too playful; they bought two compactors and a tipper truck and nothing else,” Mafume said.
“Now they have issued an SI which says they will contract people and we will pay, which is in violation of the constitution.
“How do you become part of a contract ,which you have not engaged in?
“It is also in contravention of the Procurement Act that has processes which need to be followed.”
He added: “This is bizarre and weird that one would want to contract on behalf of the City of Harare to do the work and cause the city to pay and try to claim the credit.”
Mafume said the SI was a plan to cream off council resources.
“Since February they have been making pronouncements, letters and memos seeking to have direct access to city resources,” he added.
EMA spokesperson, Amkela Sidange, however said the agency was merely coordinating waste management in terms of the SI.
“Kindly take note the EMA has not signed any agreement with any local authority nor is there any clause which compels the agency to sign agreements with the same,” Sidange said in an emailed response.
“Under the Declaration of State of Disaster-Emergency Solid Waste Management Harare Metropolitan Province through Statutory Instrument 140 of 2023 Section 5 the agency has been given a coordinating role over the proposed remedial work to be done and there is nowhere where it calls for EMA to sign agreements.”
Last year, government forced council to accept the controversial Pomona waste management deal.
Under the deal, council is supposed to pay US$40,000 per day to dump waste it has collected at its own cost for the next 30 years at the same dumpsite.
In her 2020 audit report on urban councils, auditor general Mildred Chiri said poor waste management by local authorities was posing serious health problems to residents.