HARARE – The Harare City Council (HCC) is moving to cut salaries as part of measures to contain operating costs on the back of reduced income, mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said.
He said the local authority’s entire wage bill will be revised and “every employee would be affected by the rationalisation”.
“Everyone is being overpaid. A State-registered nurse in council earns $1 527 per month as opposed to $500 for government nurses and about $900 in private facilities,” he told the media on Wednesday.
“A security guard in council earns $1 027, though their rank is similar to a constable in the Zimbabwe Republic Police,” Manyenyeni said, adding that “street sweepers earn a little over $700 while a cattle herd boy earns over $400 at a time the same employee at a farm gets approximately $81”.
He said “ideally, council salaries should be between government and private sector (rates), however, we are going above all those”.
He said it has been “easier to mention top management’s wages because they make for good reading”, adding that the salary cuts will enable council to improve service delivery to ratepayers.
The mayor said the right-sizing exercise, which is also expected to help HCC in keeping up with the current harsh economic conditions, will be conducted in the coming weeks.
This comes as council is saddled by massive debt and struggling to pay workers, with its Harare Water Department and main council employees going for six months without pay.
To mitigate the salary challenges, council has resolved to set aside $275 000 daily.
Manyenyeni said if council manages to collect sufficient revenue from its various business units, it can cover the salary gap within two to three months.
Meanwhile, as part of council’s ease-of-doing-business and decentralisation exercise, services such as planning, and water and sewer management will now be available at district offices.
Manyenyeni said Harare has been divided into eight zones that enjoy relative autonomy from head office.
“Each district office will be a one-stop-shop for all services, thus bringing business and reducing response times to things such as blocked pipes and burst sewer,” he said.
Also, each office will have its own bank account that will retain 25 percent of revenue collected, he said.