The Harare City Council has bowed to government pressure to reduce its employees’ allowances although Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda insists Harare would continue to pay its workers salaries that were guided by norms in the region.
Masunda and Local Government deputy minister Sesil Zvidzai met yesterday to discuss the Government’s directive that local authorities should cut salaries and allowances to not more than 30 percent of revenue collected and allocate at least 70 percent to service delivery.
Following the directive, Masunda earlier this week said the council would not react to issues driven by emotion.
He said he would not trample employees’ rights by tampering with their packages. Masunda was Thursday summoned to Zvidzai’s office where he was told there would be no deviation to government’s 70-30 percent allocation ratio between service delivery and salaries. Both Masunda and Zvidzai described their meeting yesterday as “cordial”.
Masunda said the Harare City Council would try to assist the Government achieve its 70-30 allocation objective without infringing on the rights of the workers.
“The simple fact is that most of the packages for the functionaries were set before the dollarization,” Masunda said. “There are all these allowances that were factored into the packaging but it may be necessary to revisit the allowances that were given in the pre-dollarisation era and see if they are relevant or not.
“From a legal point, you can’t tamper with anyone’s basic pay without his or her involvement.
This thing has to be done professionally and on basic pay, we are going to be guided by the norms in the region. We have professionals and we have to offer reasonable salaries.”
Entertainment, professional, housing, representation and practising allowances are among the perks that would be reviewed, the mayor said.
Masunda said the salaries which council was said to be offering its top employees were exaggerated but he refused to reveal how much the top earners were getting citing confidentiality.
“There were reports, for example, that my net salary was $22 000. Imagine $22 000! That is totally untrue,” he said.
Zvidzai said he did not care what the council paid its employees “as long as 70 percent of their revenue goes to service delivery.”