Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda was last Wednesday quizzed by Mt Pleasant residents over the local authority’s failure to publicise salary perks for senior council officials.
Residents also questioned Masunda on irregular meter readings, the issue of ghost workers at Town House and service delivery.
Masunda said: “I will not put the blame on (Minister of Local Government) Ignatius Chombo. It was a time of illegal commissions (when the salaries were gazzetted). We are talking to them to review their contracts, but the things get exaggerated.
“We are a transparent organisation and there is no need to keep all these things from you. The payroll of 62 officials amounts to $300 000, but I cannot give you what individuals are getting, but figures in the newspapers are far from correct. They don’t get obscene salaries.”
He said council has been prejudiced of $2,1 million by workers who went out of the country during the heat of the economic crisis only to return and take up their jobs in 2009. The mayor said his council inherited a messy situation from the “illegal commissions” set up by Chombo who had fired the MDC-T-dominated council, and described the city as a “dumpsite” by politicians.
“It had become a dumping ground by politicians. Look at it yourself: 10 500 workers, it tells you something is terribly wrong,” said Masunda.
“The (water supply) situation is far from normal and would take five years to normalise. The water is there but Morton Jaffrey (waterworks) was commissioned in 1953 and has not been expanded since then to cope with increased capacity,” he said.
“People in the low-density suburbs can make a plan so the people we are concerned about are those from high-density suburbs,” he said.
Residents complained of the erratic supply of power in the area, but Masunda said: “We all know that the Harare Thermal Station belonged to the city before government took it in 1980 and they have run it down. We want to reclaim that station to meet the needs of everybody.”