HARARE remains gripped with insurmountable challenges including the water crisis, refuse collection, workers strikes and corruption, but Mayor Herbert Gomba said he was pleased with how the local authority worked under his charge to address the myriad of challenges.

BY MOSES MATENGA

Gomba became Mayor last year after the July 30 harmonised elections and vowed to eradicate graft that had become a scourge in the local authority and work towards addressing staff salary problems among other issues.

Though the water crisis has remained a challenge, Gomba said on Sunday he was hoping central government would act to provide foreign currency needed for chemicals and also push for reliable sources of water.

“We tried our best, we reduced debts and now are concerned with the need to fund our water and roads programmes,” Gomba said on the current state of the city.

“Given a chance, we want to borrow $30 million using City Parking dividends to fund our roads programme, borrow against our budget to fund water rehabilitation.”

Apparently, City Parking has increased its charges from $5 per hour to $10.

On staff welfare, Gomba said the local authority has tried to restore normalcy adding that they now should start working hard for the good of the city.

“We tried to restore to normalcy, the true nature of bonus payment to our employees and hopefully they will work hard,” Gomba said.

He said on the water situation, local suppliers should up their game while also hoping government would provide the much-needed resources to ensure availability of the precious liquid.

His comments follow a protracted blame game between the local authority and government over whose responsibility it was to provide water to residents.

Harare says the city was not operating in a vacuum hence the national economic crisis bedevilling Zimbabwe had also negatively affected them.

The MDC-dominated council claimed that because of government failure to provide employment to millions of people, the revenue collection side had been adversely affected hence there was nowhere the local authority could get money.

“We hope the local suppliers will up their game to ensure consistency in supplying all needed for the provision of potable water,” Gomba said.

Residents endured a dry holiday. Water shortages have exposed Glen View and Budiriro residents to typhoid with 13 suspected cases being treated before the holidays.

Gomba said those who owe council, from residents, government and business should pay their dues to finance the service they are in dire need of.

Harare is owed close to $1 billion by business, residents and government and has encouraged the debtors to pay for them to get the desired services.

Observers say despite criticism from some quarters at times, the city had this year managed to improve its operations, reduced illegal vendors in the central business district, paid staff salaries on time.
The city has also forged a partnership with central government in trying to come up with a solution to the water crisis.