RURAL and urban councillors in the Midlands province are demanding motor vehicles and an upward review of their allowances when they travel away from their stations on business to align their working conditions with those of legislators.
BY BRENNA MATENDERE
The demands were presented to Local Government minister July Moyo during a councillors’ induction workshop yesterday.
Gokwe ward 2 councillor Machinda Mutembedzi said there was no reason why councillors and MPs should have different working conditions when they were all elected public office bearers.
“An MP is elected in the same manner as a councillor. So why would their conditions of service be different? If an MP is provided with a car for his work, so must be a councillor,” he said.
Wilbert Rambanapasi, ward 12 councillor for Tongogara Rural District Council in Shurugwi, echoed the same sentiments.
“In the rural areas, a councillor can walk for a long distance to attend council business. Some actually live as far as 40km from council offices and have to sometimes walk for such distances due to transport problems in remote areas. So I think it is better to just review their conditions of service and provide cars for them,” Rambanapasi said.
He said their monthly allowances were too meagre and exposed them to mockery by management staff who should be subordinate to councillors.
Former Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi (ward 1 councillor) said councillors’ out-of-pocket allowances should also be reviewed from the current $10 a day.
In response, Moyo said the councillors must first improve their revenue collections before they talk of any improvements in their welfare.
“If councils make revenue that leave them within the 30:70 ratio of salaries and service delivery after all their demands have been effected, there will be no problem at all. So my advice is that expand your revenue bases then we can approve your demands. MPs also cover bigger areas than just a single ward, and so that is why they are given cars, but if your revenues improve, we can relook into that,” he said.
“A person ends up using their own cash while conducting business of council. $10 is not fair at all. We need the allowance to be reviewed,” he said.
Meanwhile, Harare City Council last month pledged to buy iPads for councillors who had demanded the gadgets ostensibly to avoid wasting of paper on documents as well as equip them with the latest information technology devices.