The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) welcomes the recent declaration by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to the effect that the government directive to slash obscene salaries for council executives stands.
The move comes at a time a tribunal has been set up to investigate the defiance of a government directive for the Harare City Council to cut salaries for top executives.
Despite the government directive to cut the obscene salaries for council executives (to $10 450 for the highest earner), top executives at the Harare City Council continued to earn between $12 000 and $21 000 between October 2014 and June 2015 and this cost the Harare City Council more than $500 000.
Given the fact that 40 managers who include city doctors, engineers, lawyers and planners also benefited, the Harare City Council (according to reports) could have been prejudiced of millions of dollars.
Before the government directive to slash obscene salaries for the Harare City Council executives, the highest paid earner at Harare City Council was getting $27 000 and it is quite evident that this came with negative consequences on effective service delivery.
In as much as the Harare City Council had a contractual obligation to pay these obscene salaries to council executives, such a scenario (from the eyes of the ordinary resident) is theft and misuse of public funds.
According to Harare Mayor, Councilor Bernard Manyenyeni, “every job in council is overpaid” and of the $12 million collected by council monthly, $10 million is going towards salaries while a paltry $2 million is reserved for service delivery.
CHRA reiterates that the issue of obscene salaries, coupled with corruption, financial misappropriation and misplaced priorities has largely been responsible for poor service delivery in Harare.
We implore responsible authorities to ensure the Harare City Council is not turned into a hub for looting of public funds as a result of obscene salaries and allowances.