The government has issued a directive to Chitungwiza Town Council to slash salaries and allowances of its management and staff with the savings accruing from the cost-cutting measures going towards paying outstanding debts.
BY ALBERT MASAKA
The chairperson of the caretaker council of Chitungwiza, Madzudzo Pawadyira, revealed this at a meeting with line managers at council chambers on Wednesday. He said the directive came from Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
Kasukuwere also ordered the embattled council to urgently hold a meeting with debtors and come up with a robust payment plan.
He said his ministry should be apprised on a weekly basis on progress to address the said issues as directed.
Chitungwiza is technically bankrupt and currently owes various debtors over $66 million against an annual budget of $26,2 million, with a monthly average collection rate of 28%, read the memo from the minister dated August 29, 2017.
According to the memo, which was read by Pawadyira in the meeting, the untenable situation had led to the attachment of council property on two occasions forcing “Kasukuwere to use his powers in terms of section 331 (1) of the Urban Councils Act that council should employ austerity measures aimed at cutting Council costs”.
“To that end, council should engage the services of a labour expert with a view to reviewing downwards conditions of service for council management and staff. Savings realised from the cost-cutting measures should go towards servicing of the outstanding debts.”
Town clerk George Makunde was suspended by Kasukuwere barely a week after Zanu PF youths stormed council offices last week demanding his ouster and that of his line managers over corruption allegations.
This was the second demonstration inside two weeks and came a week after the Messenger of Court towed away several utility vehicles over a $4,2 million debt owed to Nissam (Private) Limited for the design and layout of residential stands in Nyatsime township.