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Forex shortages hobble delivery of garbage trucks

By Helen Kadirire

Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has been tasked by councillors to follow up on the delivery of refuse compactors that were purchased last year.

Harare City Council refuse collection truck (Picture by NewsDay)
Harare City Council refuse collection truck (Picture by NewsDay)

According to ordinary council minutes, acting town clerk Hosea Chisango visited the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to inquire on the disbursement of foreign currency to cover the city’s needs.

Of the 30 refuse trucks that were purchased from South African firm FAW in September last year, only 18 have been delivered.

“Council resolved that His Worship, the Mayor and the acting town clerk institute immediate follow-up action on the supply and delivery of the refuse compactors and graders and ensure the delivery of such equipment without any further delay and update the environmental management committee on progress at its subsequent meeting,” read the minutes.

Chisango said that initial foreign currency for the graders had been released, but they were now making follow-ups for more to be disbursed to complete the delivery.

“The governor of the RBZ (John Mangudya) had agreed to release $300 000 per week towards payment of the refuse trucks that were being manufactured by FAW in South Africa,” he said.

The issue of the refuse compactors comes as Harare is yet to receive the full consignment of trucks and road maintenance equipment which were bought under a $30 million loan facility accessed from various banks.

From the loan, Harare is supposed to have received 30 garbage trucks, 10 skip trucks, 10 tipper trucks, three graders, one chip spreader and one jet-patcher.

Harare has a refuse collection fleet of 47 trucks. However, less than 20 are functional, leaving many suburbs to go for weeks without garbage collection.

In December last year, council decided to engage private truck companies to collect refuse on behalf of council, despite the purchase and delivery of some new trucks.

According to environmental committee minutes, the private truck owners would be sourced from the community.

A pilot project into refuse collection was conducted in August and targeted Mabvuku, Tafara, Arcadia, Braeside, Hillside, St Martins, Kambuzuma, Dzivaresekwa and Warren Park suburbs.

“The city has already written to the SPB for approval to engage individual truck owners in local communities and was awaiting a response.

“Once the approval is granted by the SPB, an advert to call bids would be advertised to engage owners of seven tonne caged trucks from local communities for the provision of door-to-door refuse collection services in Harare,” read the minutes.

The move to engage private refuse collectors, however, irked councillors who argued that the city should utilise the existing fleet instead. Daily News