By Innocent Ruwende
Councillors have asked Government to treat them like Members of Parliament who receive a salary and sitting allowances, saying they deserve similar remuneration as their responsibilities are the same.
The Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) has since made an appeal to Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo asking Government to review their conditions of service.
UCAZ president and Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni said the councillors’ demands were justified.
“Councillors are justified in expecting that those who come through democratic processes should be treated along identical principles perhaps varying in quantum on the major conditions of service,” he said.
The Association of Rural District Councils of Zimbabwe (ARDCZ) has also made a similar request saying they deserved better remuneration since they were the main drivers of rural development.
ARDCZ president Dr Killer Zivhu argued that in other countries in the SADC region councillors were paid monthly salaries, similar to other elected politicians.
Some analysts argue that the Harare or Bulawayo mayor cannot earn just half of what an MP gets.
MPs earn a basic salary of about $1 207 per month while their sitting allowances range between $800 and $1 000 monthly.
The Mayor of Harare is paid an allowance of $1 250 per month while his deputy pockets $840, up from $350.
Harare city committee chairpersons get an allowance of $560 with councillors getting $550.
Bulawayo Mayor earns $1 000, his deputy $660, committee chairpersons $450 and councillors $400.
Mayors of other cities are paid an allowance of $840, their deputies $550, committee chairpersons $370 and councillors $350.
Mayors of municipalities earn $600, while their deputies receive $400. Municipality committee chairpersons receive $360 and councillors $300.
Towns and local boards mayors get $560, their deputies $350 and committee chairpersons receive $300 while councillors get $250.
Other local authorities get less.
According to the Councils’ Act, councillors can only be paid allowances as approved by the Local Government Minister.
The councils can only pay pension and other allowances under very special circumstances, read the Act.
“If a municipal council considers that there are special circumstances which warrant the payment of a pension or allowance to a person who has attained the age of 60 years and has held office as a councillor on that council for a period of, or periods in the aggregate which amount to, 20 years or more, that council may apply to the minister for authority to pay such pension or allowance,” reads an extract of the Act. –The Herald