LOCAL Government minister Ignatius Chombo has blamed the “faulty design” of Harare as the major contributing factor to the poor service delivery in the city while he deliberately skirted questions on corruption in local authorities.
Chombo made the remarks on Tuesday during a joint Dutch Embassy and @263chat public discussion on service delivery in local authorities.
Many local authorities are struggling to collect refuse, provide clean water and proper sewer reticulation. Harare acting town clerk Josephine Ncube and Kwekwe mayor Matenda Madzoke were also part of the panel at the public discussion.
Chombo said the way the capital city was designed was faulty resulting in the pollution of water sources.
“The city centre should be in Mt Hampden, but the settlers (in 1890) got lost and put the central business district at the wrong place,” he claimed.
Mt Hampden is 20 kilometres West of Harare and geographically in Zvimba district, Mashonaland West Province, President Robert Mugabe’s rural home.
Chombo refused to respond to a question from the audience on corruption as a factor hampering service delivery. He said Ncube should respond.
Ncube said corruption was largely a creation of the media.
“The media might be exaggerating the corruption in municipalities,” she said.
The responses from the two caused one contributor Mujkasiri Sibanda to tweet that Chombo was like boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather in dodging questions.
Chombo reiterated that there was nothing wrong in Harare City Council using the Chinese water infrastructure loan to purchase vehicles for its top management.
“Acquisition of 57 vehicles for Harare City under the $144 million China loan is a non-issue as all things were done procedurally,” he said.
The minister further said the city needed a huge amount of capital to resuscitate its water infrastructure. “To normalise water delivery in Harare we need not less than one billion dollars. The $144 million is just, but a drop in the ocean,” he said.