GWERU mayor Hamutendi Kombayi yesterday said the Midlands capital is being sustained by informal traders as most large companies have folded.
Presenting his state of industry report, Kombayi said companies used to account for 70% of formal employment, but the informal sector had now become the major economic player.
By Stephen Chadenga
He said this had compromised the local authority’s capacity to provide efficient service delivery.
“The city’s economy is largely dependent on vending as 80% of the population is unemployed,” Kombayi said.
“Our industries used to account for 70% of formal employment but now they are operating at 30% of their capacity.”
Companies such as Zimbabwe Alloys, Radar Castings, Zimcast, Anchor Yeast, Bata and Kariba Batteries have either closed shop, scaled down operations or are on the verge of collapse.
“That scenario has seen failure to pay rates and bills by both companies and residents and this obviously affects service delivery in the city,” Kombayi said.
Gweru is one of the urban centres failing to pay workers on time owing to a shrinking revenue base as a result of the poor performance of the economy.
The city, like the rest of Zimbabwe has been starved of fresh investment and its infrastructure is deteriorating due to lack of maintenance.
Meanwhile, Gweru City council workers have made arrangements with the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to pay $350 000 owed by the municipality in arrears.
Workers committee chairman, Paul Moyana said workers through the Revenue Enhancement Committee approached NSSA to stop garnishing money raised by the revenue team.
In May this year, NSSA garnished municipal accounts but the decision was reversed after employees representatives agreed with the social security authority to pay in instalments.
“We have managed to make arrangements with NSSA to pay $50 000 installments to settle $350 000 owed to the social security authority,” Moyana told journalists yesterday at a media briefing organised by the workers committee.
“This was made possible through efforts from the Revenue Enhancement Team since the employer was failing to remit to NSSA.”
He said contrary to claims that the workers’ committee had taken over the running of affairs at Town House, the committee managed to address the plight of employees including paying salaries, funeral policies and medical aid.
Moyana accused councillors of tarnishing the image of his committee after it unearthed abuse of council resources by the city fathers.
At a special council meeting last Friday councillors accused the workers’ committee, which they labelled “Boko Haram” of running council affairs and dictating terms both to management and city fathers.
“For the record we are not running the affairs at Town House, we are just fighting for our right as workers,” he said.