The Chitungwiza Municipality says it will lay off hundreds of workers as it can no longer sustain the huge salary bill owing to the failure by residents to pay their rates to the local authority.
Speaking at the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) offices in Chitungwiza on Thursday at the end of former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s tour of council projects in Harare’s dormitory town, Chitungwiza Mayor Phillip Mutoti, said his council will retrench hundreds of workers beginning next month because the local authority cannot pay them anymore.
Mutoti said several residents were not paying their rates to council.
The Chitungwiza mayor said his council is failing to provide regular water supplies and rehabilitate local roads in the town because the local authority’s coffers are empty.
He also appealed to the government to provide resources for the rehabilitation of the local authority’s sewage plant that he says is the biggest in southern Africa.
Mutoti said this exercise requires at least $4.5 million, adding that raw sewage is now polluting the environment as it being disposed of in nearby rivers.
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai said he negotiated with the Japanese government during his stint in the unity government regarding the rehabilitation of the Chitungwiza sewage plant but the deal never materialized following disputed elections in 2013 that ended the unity government.
While close to 600 council workers are set to lose their jobs, the Chitungwiza Residents Association released a statement Thursday criticizing the huge salaries that it says were being earned by senior management staff in the Chitungwiza Municipality at the expense of service delivery.
During his tour, Tsvangirai also visited the new long distance bus terminus, the Roadport at Chitungwiza Town Centre and some vendors in the several suburbs.