Harare City waste management placed under govt control by Mnangagwa
'The solution is for us to get our devolution funds and use them to retool and buy more equipment. This is ill-advised' - Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared Harare Metropolitan Province’s poor waste management a “State of Emergency” and delegated Environment Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu to co-ordinate the process of bringing the situation to normalcy.
The directive is contained in the Statutory Instrument 140 of 2023 dubbed Emergency Solid Waste Management Harare Metropolitan Province) Notice, 2023.
Harare, for the past two decades, has been facing an increase in population density, poor formal solid waste disposal, increase in waste volumes, informal waste disposal, low waste collection frequency and efficiency and mismanagement on the part of leadership.
Shortage of equipment is one of the reasons why Harare City Council fails to manage waste. The council allegedly uses only eight trucks to service the whole of Harare.
Accordingly, Mnangagwa has directed that the Ministry of Environment, through the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) to undertake emergency solid waste management to help improve Harare.
“It is hereby notified, in terms of section 38 of the Act that the Minister has- (a) for the purpose of this declaration, conferred his powers in terms of the Act upon the Minister responsible for Environment, including any power or duty conferred or imposed by or in terms of this Act upon the area civil protection officer for the civil protection area concerned; (b) for the purpose of paragraph (a), authorised the Minister responsible for Environment to confer upon the Agency, and every employee of the Agency designated by it for that purpose, any power or duty conferred or imposed upon an area civil protection officer or other person by or in terms of this Act,” read the notice.
“For public information it is projected that, to ensure emergency solid waste management is undertaken efficiently during the period that this declaration is in force, the Agency shall- (a) co-ordinate the use of materials and services made available by local authorities within the Harare Metropolitan Province during the state of disaster;
“(b) endeavour to remove illegal solid waste dump, by means of a range of activities including mapping, quantification and clearing of illegal waste dumps and direct local authorities within the Harare Metropolitan Province to establish appropriately designed and designated waste transfer stations;
“(c) direct local authorities within the Harare Metropolitan Province, under its supervision, to undertake periodic refuse collection, consisting of street by street waste collection including sanitary lanes;
“(d) direct local authorities within the Harare Metropolitan Province, under its supervision, to install bins in streets and public places;
“(e) undertake, together with local authorities within the Harare Metropolitan Province, awareness campaigns through roadshows, radio and television programs and sector specific cluster meetings.”
The notice further mandates council authorities to pay for the work that would have been done.
“In addition to such reimbursement as the Agency may be entitled to under section 25 of the Act from the National Civil Protection Fund, the Agency shall, to the extent that local authorities within the Harare Metropolitan Province do not make good the expenses of the Agency directly incurred as a result of carrying out the remedial work described in section 4, be entitled in terms of section 40 of the Act to recover, in the name of the Minister responsible for the Environment, the whole or any part of such expenses from the local authority concerned by action in any court of competent jurisdiction,” read the notice.
The Mayor of Harare Jacob Mafume has however slammed the move saying it would “end in more tears”.
“These attempts to control and grab authority from the City of Harare are not new. We have had ZINARA and ZESA before which have attempted to do what local authorities should be doing. We have no roads and no electricity,” Mafume was quoted as saying by ZimLive.
“EMA is a regulatory body not an implementer and they have no experience, no staff and no equipment to do what the government intends them to do.
“The solution to this is for us to get our devolution funds and use them to retool and buy more equipment. This attempt to direct municipalities is ill-advised and will end in more tears,” Mafume said.
According to Mafume, the city is only able to meet 42 percent of its door-to-door waste collection targets relying on 18 refuse trucks in service against a requirement of 36.
“They have given us less than 20 percent of our devolution funds,” Mafume said.