WASHINGTON DC —
Harare residents have over the years clashed with city fathers over poor service delivery but this appears to be a thing of the past as some people in Sunningdale suburb have teamed up with the local authority to improve service delivery.
Some local people are also financing some of the projects.
As Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni witnessed during a tour of Sunningdale on Tuesday, some residents are now doing voluntary work at council institutions likes clinics, schools and recreational parks with the aim of improving service delivery.
At the local clinic, several residents trained as nurse aids were assisting stuff, while at a local recreational park, others were busy planting flowers and cutting grass.
According to local councilor, Hami Madzingira, residents also assisting council employees to carry garbage, repair roads and many other duties such as planting trees and assisting in running councils schools.
He says it all began after he asked community and church leaders to urge residents to partner the cash-strapped council in partnering the local authority for improving service delivery.
Contri Nicole, who leads those doing voluntary work at Sunset Recreational Park, says the park was neglected and he felt duty-bound to assist the local authority.
Manyenyeni says given the financial strain on council and its failure to hire adequate staff and provide enough resources, the partnership between residents and council in Sunningdale is exciting and must be replicated throughout the city.
He says the corporate sector should partner council as well in order to improve service delivery.
Harare Residents Trust director, Precious Shumba, says Sunningdale residents have good working relations with the local authority as they participate in council projects and get regular briefings.
Meanwhile, Harare became the first council in the country to set up a standing committee to deal solely with the issue if the ever-increasing street vendors.
City principal communications officer, Michael Chideme, says the committee chaired by councilor, Charity Bango, will deal with issues relating to council on a daily basis and report to full council monthly or as and when necessary.
The council is currently facing a problem of vendors who are operating in undesignated areas in the central business district and has tried, in vain, to remove them.
More and more citizens are turning to vending as the labour market shrinks due to poor economic performance.