By Helen Kadirire
Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has argued that the city’s exorbitant wage bill should be attended to immediately if service delivery is to improve. In an interview with the Daily News, Manyenyeni said the high wage bill was destroying all the efforts of ever improving the services that residents get.
This comes as Harare is struggling to supply clean water arguing that a shortage in foreign currency and ballooning debt bill are to blame.
“The city’s wage bill is the elephant in the room and until that is addressed we will continue to have problems. If it was cut by at least 40 percent we would be able to provide decent services for the ratepayers,” Manyenyeni said.
The mayor is on record arguing that the city pays way more than the private sector with street sweepers reportedly being paid more than $400.
Harare councillors have expressed their bitterness on the secret salary schedule with Rugare councillor Peter Moyo arguing that management has been hiding their wage bill since 2008.
“We have been crying for this kind of transparency since 2008 and it is unfortunate it had to come out through a report from your ministry.
“The rudeness and stubbornness exhibited by management when they talk to us about this salary issue is appalling. They just do not listen to us,” he said.
Moyo added that though they agreed that the salary bill be made public, HCC management still ignored council resolutions and government directives on the issue.
Residents Forum coordinator Denford Ngadziore also argued that the city’s executive salary bill is too high as opposed to those at the bottom.
“The people doing the real work are months behind in salary arrears, while the directors drive lavish cars and pay each other hefty salaries.
“Those huge salaries should be reduced to meet the current economic situation in the country,” he said.
HCC has been reeling in debt as it is struggling to pay its workers, with Harare Water employees having a backlog of seven months while the rest of the council workforce is six months behind.
To mitigate the salary problems, HCC resolved to set aside $275 000 daily in the salaries account to ensure that people are paid.
They claimed that if council manages to collect sufficient revenue from its various units it can cover the salary gap by two or three months. DailyNews