Benard Manyenyeni says Harare’s vision to achieve world class by 2025 is unachievable due to rampant corruption and political interference in the operations of council.
Manyenyeni told the parliamentary local government committee on Tuesday that Harare is being run by an incompetent management team that has no respect for elected officials.
He said political interference in Harare is a major cause for concern.
Manyenyeni noted that he had suspended Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi this February after he refused to furnish council with salary schedules for top council managers but he was reinstated by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo under unclear circumstances.
He said such interference and failure by the government to give elected councilors the opportunity to run the city makes it impossible for Harare to achieve world class status.
He said service delivery is falling in many areas and most city managers, despite getting unrealistically high salaries, are not fit for the job.
He said councilors have not been given a chance to address the remuneration for council workers, adding the council has begun a restructuring exercise to reduce the number of employees, particularly managers whom he said are chewing up most of the city’s income.
Council rakes in about $14 million per month in revenue and more than half of it goes towards salaries, a situation the mayor said is untenable.
Manyenyeni told the committee that his council is worried about serious leakages in council revenues, adding the local authority is due to convene a special meeting to address the issue.
Business committee chairman councilor Herbert Gomba also told the committee that council is failing to collect revenue in places like Mbare-Musika because Zanu PF activists, led by former Zanu PF Harare provincial youth chairman and council employee Jim Kunaka, had taken control of the area’s facilities.
Manyenyeni and Gomba said council has resolved to deal with the issue and has tasked relevant officials in council to deal with Kunaka.
Committee chairperson Irene Zindi also advised council to report Kunaka to the police.
But lawmaker, Joseph Chinotimba supported Kunaka and his colleagues saying they were demonstrating against council’s decisions to go into joint ventures with foreign companies at the expense of locals.
Meanwhile, Manyenyeni said they are still investigating how the $144 million Chinese deal to upgrade the city’s water works was awarded after World Bank and independent experts hinted that $100 million could have been looted as only $44 million was needed to upgrade the water works.
The project would increase the city’s water supply from 500 to 600 mega liters per day upon competition.