Amid rising concern about poor service delivery, including failure to maintain pothole-riddled roads in the city, the Harare City Council has awarded its workers a pay rise and 3 500 residential stands.
Chiremba Road is one of the busiest roads in Harare yet it remains unmaintained by disgruntled workers and a local authority that is ignoring its mandate.
Instead, the specialised task is delegated to touts who just fill up the potholes with loose soil and pester motorists for a token.
“We are forced to take action because of the dire situation the roads are in, vehicles will develop suspension problems if we do not assist. We are doing community service,” one of the touts said.
With the rains, the potholes are all dug up now, threatening car suspension systems while the zigzagging motorists navigating around them is a recipe for disaster.
Motorists fumed; “Our vehicles are losing ball joints everyday due to these potholes. Can we call this a road, where is the City Council who have the mandate to upgrade these roads?”
While all this is happening, the city fathers are in the boardroom, announcing a generous salary adjustment for workers spiced with residential stands, 3 542 workers having already been marked for them.
More perks might be on the way as these conditions will be reviewed monthly while a blitz to collect revenue from rate payers has been mooted, ostensibly to raise revenue for service delivery.
“We are quite happy with what we have got so far. We have agreed that we will be having these meetings regularly and our workers to also give their all towards their jobs. The blitz, when it is launched will also improve our revenue generation. We also have to pressure council companies such as City Park to enhance revenue stream,” said, Executive Chairman, Harare Municipal Workers Union, Cosmas Bungu.
The coincidence of the imminent blitz with the salary adjustment is too convenient to be unrelated.
Councillor Jacob Mafume, in charge of the committee responsible for human resources issues, argued that apart from a motivated workforce, Zimbabwe National Roads Administration(ZINARA) must fund road rehabilitation.
“We need to get more revenue to pay the workers and to provide quality service. ZINARA must give us our money so we rehabilitate our roads,” said Councillor Mafume.
As the council workers enjoy their early Christmas, it remains to be seen if they will channel their energies towards their work.