Harare, July 1, 2014-The Harare City Council has blamed its financial struggles to government’s decision to write off debts accrued by rate payers last year.
Presenting oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Harare Mayor, Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni attributed the local authority’s financial crisis to the writing off of the US$330 million debt which was owed by rate payers.
“The council is going nowhere, the writing off of bills was a major setback,” he said.
The council also claimed that government departments are not paying their dues and Councillor Herbert Gomba pleaded with the parliamentary portfolio committee to intervene and talk to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to pay up outstanding bills.
“The University of Zimbabwe (UZ), parliament, all government offices are not paying for water. We need that money for better service delivery,” he said.
Buhera South legislator, Cde Joseph Chinotimba questioned if the city fathers are prepared for the lawsuits that they have attracted from disgruntled workers who claim their retrenchment was not done procedurally.
“I am foreseeing a situation where your property will be attached after your failure to pay retrenched workers,” warned Cde Chinotimba.
Other issues that were brought before the parliamentary portfolio committee include the retrenchment of council workers, poor service delivery, the huge council wage bill which gobbles US$8 million a month and the city council’s non-remittance of funds to the Harare Medical Aid Society.