HARARE – Harare City Council (HCC) is yet to give its employees the residential stands it promised them in lieu of outstanding salaries.
According to ordinary council minutes, the city was failing to peg the areas designated for employees because of existing maize fields. HCC owes its employees more than $200 million with salary backlogs of up to five months.
“The acting town clerk (Hosea Chisango) reported that council employees were allocated 600 stands in Mabvuku. They had been given offer letters but could not be shown the pegs since residents were still farming,” read part of the minutes.
Director of works Zvenyika Chawatama noted that his department had to wait until the residents harvested their crop first.
“Now that the harvesting season was over, surveyors would be deployed to areas concerned to peg the stands accordingly,” he said.
Harare Municipal Workers Union executive director Cosmas Bungu said council had reneged on the promise it made to workers.
“Workers work without pay and are promised residential stands, however to date they have not received anything. Nothing is being said as to what is going to happen.
The salaries are not coming and neither are the stands,” Bungu said.
He added that council workers have been patient with the city despite it violating all the agreements they made in past collective bargaining agreements.
In 2017 housing committee minutes, council resolved to allocate 2 000 serviced stands in Eyestone of Arlington Estate and 1 000 residential stands in Mabvuku to council employees in Grades five to 16.
“The committee had before it a report by the acting director of Housing and Social Development on allocation of 2 000 serviced stands depicted on layout plan numbers TPY/ER/02 /16 in Eyestone of Arlington Estate and 1 000 depicted on layout plan number TPY/ER/ 01/ 16 in Mabvuku township to council employees in Grade 16-5 in the Harare Municipal Undertaking,” reads the minutes.
Harare has been struggling to pay workers’ salaries and provide basic services owing to low revenue resulting in a 2016 resolution to set aside $275 000 daily towards salaries in a bid to reduce its arrears.
Last year, the city put three of its commercial and industrial stands through public tender in a bid to raise over $20 million.
The city has also been selling most of its properties in both high and low density areas in order to try and raise money to pay its workers and pay of its statutory obligations.