It is now official. Harare City Council is paying astronomical salaries of up to $15 000 per month to its top management.
After weeks of denials by council officials and attempts at justifying the high salaries as consistent with “regional rates”, NewsDay yesterday obtained documentary evidence which revealed that there were indeed “fat cats” in the municipality, who were earning salaries beyond the imagination of the majority of Zimbabweans.
A salary structure document in our possession shows that an employee in grade one, believed to be that of the town clerk, earned a gross salary of $13 422, 78 as of May.
Benefits such as fuel allowance and school fees, among others, were not included in this figure. An impeccable source said if these were factored in, the salary would rise well above $15 000.
The grade one employee’s basic pay is $5 628, with the rest of the money coming from allowances such as professional ($1 125, 60), entertainment ($562, 80), representation
($1 885, 38), non-practising ($2 532, 60) and housing ($1 688, 40).
The salary structure shows that the city’s top 59 employees collectively take home about $400 000, enough to pay about 1 600 senior civil servants at the current public service salary rates.
Permanent secretaries earn about $250 a month.
Harare has nine employees in grade two (notch two), each grossing $11 185, 65, taking the combined gross to $100 670, 85 per month.
The city has one employee in grade two (notch one) who earns $9 726, 03.
As of May, there were five employees in grade three each earning $6 947, 51 a month, taking their combined earnings to $34 737, 55.
The council has 41 employees in grade four (notch two) who earn $5 100, 32 every month.
Their combined earnings were $209 113, 12.
There are two employees in grade four (notch one), each of them on a monthly salary of $4 729, 95.
“The top 59 executives earn $377 130, 23 a month, and if you take into account such allowances as fuel, school fees and so on, the salary bill rises to over $400 000,” our source said.
NewsDay is reliably informed that the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Local Government and some councillors were aware of this salary structure.
The revelations come at a time when the government has ordered local authorities to ensure that at least 70% of the revenue collected is channelled towards service delivery, with 30% going to salaries.
Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda yesterday said the city council would review the allowances given to executives, although he said their salaries and allowances accounted for only 3% of the total wage bill.
“Like I said before, we are looking into the allowances issue, that is the professional allowance, the so-called representation and the non-practising. The other allowances and the basic salaries are nothing to write home about,” he said.
He added: “I should also point out that we have 62 executives but their salaries add up to only 3% of our total wage bill, which stands at $7, 5 million per month.
“We would not be having complaints if everyone paid, because we are owed $132 million in rates and water and $12,7 million of the debt is from government.”
Deputy Minister of Local Government Sesel Zvidzai, who has previously clashed with Masunda over council salaries, confirmed that his ministry was familiar with the Harare City Council salary structure.
“Yes, we have the salary structure,” he said. “We requested that local authorities give us the packages that they pay their executives.
We got a response from most local authorities, including Harare, and my sub-committee is working on recommendations which will be submitted to the minister aimed at making sure that 70% of resources are deployed for service delivery,” he said.
Zvidzai said most local authorities were paying unsustainable salaries and would be forced to cut down on the perks.
“It’s not just Harare, there is need for adjustment right across most local authorities.
Even in small towns like Zvishavane, we have a town clerk taking the council to court because he wants a $6 000 salary.
Even the private sector in Zvishavane doesn’t pay that much. What is happening is nonsensical,” he said.