…says ‘politically motivated sabotage’ causes underdevelopment
GWERU: Following the ever-accumulating debts, Gweru City Council is tabling ideas to resuscitate income-generating projects to increase revenue inflow.
This was brought forward by Deputy Mayor, Cleopas Shiri during a Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) public finance management indaba on debt justice in local authorities.
Shiri highlighted that the ballooning debt is affecting service delivery as the cash-strapped authority is failing to cater to operational costs.
“Every month we are supposed to pay 30 million RTGS, but we managed to liaise with the stakeholder so that we pay 50% of the amount. Not only service delivery is at stake but also the welfare council workers have been affected because they are not earning enough to cater to their families,” said Shiri.
Service delivery in Gweru is in a deplorable state, with citizens only receiving tap water twice a week, the poor state of roads, and an unpredictable waste collection schedule.
However, Shiri raised the political card which he said was the major cause of poor service delivery by local authorities.
“Politics is at play in many local authorities, sabotage is very common and at the end of the day a political party at the helm of that specific council is labeled for poor service delivery,” added Shiri.
Late disbursements of devolution funds is also another reason that was raised as a contributing factor to the failure of local authorities to procure what they want because of inflation rates running amok.
Local Governance Expert Dr. Vincent Chakunda recommended that local authorities should be engaged on domestic resource mobilisation so that the community benefits also.
“Money that has been borrowed by local authorities has not been invested productively for the benefit of local communities what we want is political power to give leverage to local authorities in order to generate money for infrastructural development,” said Chakunda.
Meanwhile, ZIMCODD Strategic Information and Evaluation Specialist Vulindlela Ndlovu urged residents to continue demanding answers from duty bearers for transparency matters.
” You have the right demand for answers from your duty bearers engage them so that you will be able to know how your money is being used, holding your duty bearers into account is not a problem at all,” said Ndlovu.
Speaking at the same event Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) Director Cornelia Selipiwe reinforced the need for citizens to continually demand transparency and accountability from the duty bearers.
“As a representative for residents I do not hesitate to do a follow-up on how our money is used,we demand transparency,we want to make sure our money is used for the intended purpose and effectively,” said Selipiwe.
Gweru City Council has for many years been choking in debt chiefly owing to Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), TelOne, and the Local Authorities Pensions Fund (LAPF), among others.