HARARE mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has implored residents to change their perceptions and play their part in improving service delivery by reducing litter and traffic congestion.
Addressing delegates attending a Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA)-organised national residents’ conference on service delivery yesterday, Manyenyeni said there was need for a “mindset change” to address problems affecting most local authorities.
“There are things that do not require funding, but mindset change. You don’t need funding not to drop litter and you don’t need the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to cross a red robot,” he said
“The bills that were cancelled are a result of a growing mindset of getting things for free which started with free farms, free tractors, free inputs, now no bills to pay.”
Manyenyeni promised to be an “accessible councillor and practical mayor” who would work with residents to address challenges facing the capital city.
Speaking at the same function, former Harare councillor Warship Dumba, who is the president of the Elected Councillors’ Association of Zimbabwe, said it would be difficult for the mayor and his team to convince residents to pay their bills given the precedent set by Zanu PF of slashing rates.
“It will be difficult for you to convince people to pay. People will wait for the next election in 2018 for government to say we slash your bills. It’s a serious challenge,” Dumba said.
On the demolition of houses built illegally in Harare, Manyenyeni said: “We are against illegal structures. We don’t want to erode urban planning. So all housing developments must conform to that.”
He, however, could not be drawn into commenting on what the city would do to the existing structures though government has already stated its intent to demolish the structures built illegally.
CHRA chairman Simbarashe Moyo said there was need for residents and the local authorities to work together for the good of the city. He said residents would mobilise to pay rates if services were provided and appropriately priced.
Meanwhile, Harare City Council, the Environmental Management Agency and the Zimbabwe Republic Police yesterday launched a joint anti-litter, anti-crime and anti-open fires campaign that seeks to urge residents to desist from such activities.
Officially opening the campaign, Manyenyeni urged companies that sell airtime to introduce a scratch-free airtime top-up card to avoid litter, and those in the business of selling beverages to provide bins.