GOVERNMENT has banned local authorities from holding seminars outside their cities and towns in order to save ratepayers’ money, while also threatening to deal with “errant” municipalities.
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere said he would soon be visiting “hot-spots”, including Gweru, Mutare and Chitungwiza, to address challenges facing residents and workers.
He is expected in Gweru today and will head for Mutare tomorrow, with a tour of Harare still being finalised.
“On Thursday, we will go to Manicaland and will be in Mutare. We are done with investigations and we will present our report.
Workers have not been paid since May. There is breakdown of services. Collecting money from residents is not enough. The City of Mutare has become a cause for concern, we must stop it,” Kasukuwere said.
“Some of the sticking matters on arrogance, disrespect of the law and throwing the rule book away are not going to be tolerated.”
Commenting on reports that councillors and officials were holding workshops outside their local authorities to capitalise on hefty allowances, Kasukuwere said this was being put to an end.
“We will not allow unnecessary seminars. It’s enough, no more travelling out of the city,” he said.
“They are committee rooms and other facilities to do that locally. If it is in Harare, the seminars should happen in Harare, if it is in Gweru, the same applies. It has to stop now. We are going to be very strict. We won’t tolerate abuse of public funds.”
Council workers have been complaining that they were going for several months without salaries, yet councillors and top officials were getting huge allowances from attending numerous workshops in resort areas.
Chitungwiza has gone for 33 months without paying salaries to its workers.
Meanwhile, Kasukuwere said government was still assessing the Ashok Leyland deal to secure more than 680 vehicles from Indian car manufacturer Leyland at a cost of $50 million.
But the Indian firm has already announced that the deal with the government had been finalised.-AMH