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City of Harare 2012 performance review
Residents Association (CHRA)
Janaury 14, 2013
of the City of Harare for 2012 is a C on a scale of A-F. The rate
of A is the best while F being the worst performance rating. This
is because of the efforts that have been done by the City to delivery
public services and the apparent service delivery challenges faced
by residents. It is difficult to rate the City of Harare because
of the apparent challenges between the who institutional blocks,
that is, the Council (composed of councilors) and the Municipality
(bureaucrats) who are in constant conflict and policy paralysis.
Nonetheless the Association notes the efforts done by the City of
Harare to improve the delivery of services. CHRA contends that the
City of Harare could do more if it came up with a vibrant inclusive
strategic plan with the involvement of its key stakeholders, adopts
a participatory budget framework and if the Urban
Councils Act is reformed so that it promotes downward accountability
and limits the "unholy" hand of the Minister of Local
government. Consequently our overall assessment of the City of Harare
is that there are clear intentions of reform yet the City remains
locked and bogged down by lack of resources, lack of political will
The Harare City
council failed to efficiently and effectively provide water to the
bulk of Harare's suburbs in 2012. Many residents faced 3 day
to three weeks water cuts especially in Highlands, Masasa, Greendale,
and other high density suburbs. To make matters worse some of the
boreholes have been condemned to be positive of salmonella Typhea
the bacteria that causes Cholera and Typhoid. There are many multi-faceted
reasons as why the city failed to provide water. Firstly, the city
has/is losing at least 50% of its treated water due to leakages
resulting from burst pipes. Currently, the City needs at least USD
200 million to deal with the replacement of old infrastructure and
this amount has not been raised because the city is collecting revenue
that falls far below the stipulated figure annually. Clearly, there
is no noticeable effort to deal with the piping system in Harare.
The Kunzvi dam project which is set to ease problems of water provision
in Harare, Chitungwiza and Norton seems to take forever to complete
and this is seriously affecting Harare which also has to make do
with other towns mentioned before. Many southern suburbs are getting
water only during the night and this has provided a fertile ground
for diarrheal diseases like typhoid and Cholera. Thus, while there
has been a general improvement in the amount of bulk water generated
by the City since 2008 there still remains ominous challenges in
addressing water provision.
Not much has
been done to deal with the state of our roads despite efforts being
made to deal with the issue of potholes mainly in the Central Business
District. Road networks in many suburbs have made it difficult to
navigate due to huge potholes. This rainy season makes it a great
risk for one to want to travel during the night because of the waterlogged
at many intersections are not working and this is due to either
power cuts or non functionality of these traffic lights. Accidents
have been occurring inspired by this phenomenon. The linking of
road networks and rail networks and establishing traffic signals
or boom gates still remains to be seen. Most traffic lights at rail
road intersections are not functioning making it possible for vehicle
collision with rail transport.
backlog of council remains pregnant with at least one million people
waiting to be allocated land. Land distribution continues to be
done by the upper class that buys vast tracts of land in council
then distributes it for a higher price despite the fact that most
of these stands are not yet serviced. Housing cooperatives have
now been infiltrated as political platforms. Zanu PF has been mobilizing
people in Hatcliff using housing cooperatives and people flock to
these meetings because of their sheer desperation to get a stand.
All housing or land deals were stalled by Minister Chombo who argues
that the tendering system remains flawed and people in Budiriro
and Dzivarasekwa have been hugely affected after the Old Mutual
/ CABS deal was stalled.
has been generally good mainly due to the affordability of the services
at community level. The decentralization of the distribution of
anti-retroviral drugs has made life easy for those living with H.I.V
and Aids to access their drugs locally instead of having to make
do with the long and winding queues at district of government hospitals.
However, the City failed to comply with a cabinet directive that
stated that all maternal health fees should be slashed to zero.
The failure by the City to deal with the issue of diarrheal diseases
worries us because of the medieval status of these diseases.
has general been good considering that council has been able to
procure more refuse collection trucks. This means that each and
every ward will have a dedicated truck and compactor to collect
refuse. The city now needs to create more dumping land and come
up with recycling and refuse separation strategies. In 2008 CHRA
recorded at least 1900 illegal refuse dumps which was however reduced
to 700 in 2012 which is a noticeable effort by the City. The City
also launched a Zero Litter campaign in 2012 which is also a noticeable
effort to address environmental issues and bring back Harare to
its sunshine status.
The budget formulation
process remains as one that is shallow and lacks credibility. The
process in its self is one that is only meant to hoodwink residents
in believing that they are participating in this process yet there
is not participation at all. The budget process is an all year round
which process which should involve residents at each and every level
of decision making or consultation. However, to involve residents
in September only remains a fallacy because residents are not involved
in budget tracking. Residents need to be informed of how much is
being spent by council (in totality) and how much is being earned
so as to create a sense of process ownership on the part of residents
who are the key stakeholder. No audits have been released as of
now and this creates a hazy picture as to how much is really being
made at town house for it would be myopic for us to continue relying
on figures that are coming from the City treasurer.
are run in council remains a secret of the technocrats. Nobody really
knows how much is being received and expended on a monthly basis
or quarterly basis. Figures from the treasury department reveal
that at least 40% of the City's total revenue is coming from
water but the same 40% is being spent on salaries and allowances.
This then reveals a serious lack of priorities on the part of council
and can be the basis to explain the erratic water provision in the
city. The Local authority failed to produce mid- term budget review
and financial statements as promised in the 2011 budget presentation.
The audits for 2010-12 have not yet even started and this is unacceptable
in new management practices. The ratio of service versus administration
spending remains at 40-60 which is a worrying trend as most of the
resources are spent on administration.
We have learnt
that some directors have lapsed their contract terms but they are
still at work. We are also aware that the 2011 human resource audit
reveals that there are more than 300 ghost workers on the council's
payroll but nothing has been done or reported as done in terms of
arresting the scenario at prevalence. The salaries that are being
received by directors are not known even to the City fathers who
are supposed to be responsible for negotiating their contracts.
We are not happy with the way in which the Mayor has been at the
forefront of defending the Directors perks and his recent move to
okay the purchase of vehicles for the Town clerk and Chamber secretary
despite the fact that their contracts will come to an end in February
There is no
doubt that the quality of service provided by the City of Harare
has improved from 2008 when the current council took over. However,
this improvement has not reached a level of service satisfaction
by the general citizen in Harare. We understand that some of these
problems are historical and go back to the Makwavarara Commission
which virtually run-down the public service system in Harare.
In 2013 we expect
of Zimbabwe to complete the Urban Councils Act reform process.
CHRA has produced a Stakeholders paper on priority amendments which
will be submitted to parliament. This process should address the
policy paralysis that affects local authorities. We expect City
of Harare to improve the delivery of water services at least by
50% and address the piping problem. CHRA expects City of Harare
to extend its road surfacing and pothole filling program to high
density suburbs. Importantly, the City must come up with a lasting
solution on the cholera and typhoid problem. It is fundamentally
important for City of Harare to complete its vision 2025 and bring
it to the public as a social contract for the development of Our
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