LOCAL authorities have appealed to central government to help them recover from the financial mess caused by the debt cancellation order imposed by the Zanu PF government in the run-up to the 2013 harmonised elections.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Urban Councils’ Association of Zimbabwe president and Harare mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni, made the call yesterday, saying the government should help struggling councils with grants and other incentives.
“The government should lead the way and call for compliance from residents to pay because we are happy, although saddened, that it has now realised that they are to blame. We need money for service delivery otherwise admission on its own is unhelpful,” he said.
“This issue needs both legal and political will and government should push harder to compensate for the crisis. Yes, it’s now water under the bridge, the effects are beyond this term, and we are likely to experience this for over a decade or until the economy is fully recovered.”
The call came after Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa publicly admitted that the directive was defective and pledged to provide a rescue plan for the affected councils.
Combined Harare Residents’ Association chairperson, Simbarashe Moyo said until government tables viable proposals to rescue struggling municipalities, Chinamasa’s word should be taken as politicking to appease mayors and town clerks, who are faced with a myriad of challenges due to the “ill-informed decision”.
“As residents, we want to see government’s real intervention to end the salary crisis in councils’ improved service delivery and ensure that the local authorities are in a sound financial position. As long as that is not done, Chinamasa was politicking, which is the case as things stand,” Moyo said.