Chombo wrote to Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda calling off the audit with immediate effect, it has been established.
Councillors who have been preparing to oversee the exercise were shocked when they were told the last minute that the audit had been temporarily shelved.
One councillor, who declined to be named, described the decision to shelve the audit as a direct interference on the function of the council by the Local Government ministry.
“We don’t understand why this audit had to be stopped. As councillors we should be entitled to do our oversight role over all issues with regards to council operations,” said the councillor.
The councillors suspect that there are more unqualified people who are on the council’s payroll who were employed before the 2008 harmonised elections.
“Minister Chombo wanted the council to engage external companies like Deloitte and Touché to do the audit but our argument is that council does not have the money. So, there is going to be a special council meeting on Monday to decide on the way forward,” said chairperson of the HR audit councillor Panganai Charumbira.
“The human resources audit has been temporarily shelved after the minister (Chombo) and officials from his ministry mistook it to be a witch-hunt exercise by MDC councillors to weed out Zanu (PF) supporters,” Masunda told Radio VOP, adding that the exercise was targeting all departments within the Harare City Council.
Masunda said he had met Chombo and the councillors and they had agreed to postpone the exercise in order to come up with a clear modus operandi.
“All the councillors are not human resources expertise and this where we have to come up with a clear methodology on how the audit should be carried out. The councillors should remain with their oversight role,” said Masunda.
Chombo was not immediately available for comment.
The Harare City Council has more than eight departments employing more than 10 500 workers.