CHITUNGWIZA Municipality is frantically looking for funds from financial institutions to pay workers that are set to be retrenched as the local authority seeks to reduce its huge wage bill.
Chitungwiza mayor Phillip Mutoti said the municipality was struggling to pay a bloated workforce at a time revenue collection is very low due to non-payment of rates by residents.
He said the local authority had a total of 1 720 workers against an ideal requirement of 620.
“We are having headaches with this matter because currently, Chitungwiza has a total of 1 720 workers and we require about $2 million to be able to fully pay their salaries yet we are getting very little money from the residents,” Mutoti said.
“The situation is hard because we are getting between $500 000 to $800 000 per month and from that money, we are expected to pay workers and offer service delivery.
“That is why we are planning to embark on a retrenchment drive.
“Right now, the town clerk is busy trying to access loans so that we would be able to pay the workers who are going to be retrenched.”
Mutoti said about $12 million would be required to pay about 1 100 workers eye-marked for retrenchment.
He said the process would begin as soon as they secured money from the financial institutions.
“Because of the cash shortages, we have been forced to pay our workers half salaries,” Mutoti said.
“Besides paying the workers, we need to ensure effective service delivery in the town as well.
“Last month, we collected about $540 000 from the residents yet we needed $2 million for salaries and at the same time, we have to get water from Harare.”
The mayor blamed Zanu PF for the bloated workforce, saying most of the workers at were employed through unorthodox means.
“Most of the workers came into council through politics and they are mostly from Zanu PF,” Mutoti said.
“There was a time when some politicians would use their powers to impose their relatives into the council and that is what contributed to such a huge number of workers.”
The mayor also said the local authority was struggling to collect refuse due to lack of finance.
The council has four trucks only that are serving the whole town of over 1,5 million people.
“That is why sometimes we have refuse trucks coming to collect litter once a week because we only have four trucks that are properly functioning,” Mutoti said.
“So, my appeal to the residents is that they should honour their obligation to allow us to effectively carry out our mandate.”
Last month, the local authority sent written notices to residents urging them to pay their bills on time to avoid “unnecessary litigations”.