Local authorities looting at the expense of service delivery
By Nokulunga Masuku
HARARE residents have for a long time been fighting a losing battle with their local authorities as poor service delivery continues, thanks to the government’s clean up exercise that has exposed those in office.
Despite the resident’s constant payment of water bills, the local authorities have failed to channel the money into improving water supply, a case that has seen some suburbs like Tafara, Borrowdale, Mabvuku and Hatcliffe go for years without the precious liquid.
Evernice Munando the Programs Chairperson with the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) lamented that poor planning and lack of prioritizing resident’s needs by the local authorities has led to poor service delivery.
“If you go to Copacabana there is garbage and potholes all over,” said Munando
Suburbs like Mabvuku, Tafara and Borrowdale have been going for years without water. Residents in Borrowdale have resorted to drilling their own boreholes with some even buying water”, she said.
She further stated that local authorities were allocating themselves hefty salaries at the expense of service delivery and general workers. She said because of this reason, such workers were disgruntled.
Munando viewed the proposed installation of pre-paid meters as a deprivation of people’s right to water that is enshrined in the new constitution.
“We don’t understand how the implementation of pre paid meters will solve the current water situation. This is something that is really confusing and it is a deprivation of human rights to widows, the elderly and the unemployed,” she said.
Munando further stated that access to clean water is a human right and not a privilege, and as a result, everyone is entitled to it regardless of their financial wellbeing.
Precious Shumba of the Harare Residents Trust (HRT) argued that there is need for the inclusion of residents in matters that concern them.
“We call for transparency in the government and policy makers should not decide our fate”, he said.
Shumba highlighted that the water problems in Harare were escalating because of directors who were imposed into office and not being voted for by residents.
Manhundu meanwhile called for the exposing of misappropriation of funds in the local authority.
“Why can’t we give the opportunity to those people with people at heart. It’s high time we bring down those who are damaging the city”, she said.
The call comes at a time when the City clerk was suspended from office over allegations of corruption and improper use of funds.
The government is also engaged in a clean up programme ostensibly aimed at curing the cancer that has affected the leadership in all sectors of the country at the expense of junior workers and ratepayers.