MDC led Chitungwiza Council must act proactively to stop illegal construction of houses or commercial structures and confiscate all building materials found on site, Chitungwiza Multi-Stakeholders Forum have said.
This follows perennial corruption and embezzlement within the rank and file of Chitungwiza municipal officials, including former and sitting Councilors and Management who are working as syndicates popularly known as â€˜land baronsâ€™ with politically connected individuals to steal and allocate state and council land to individuals.
This call also comes at a time when there is poor and deteriorating service delivery in Chitungwiza manifesting as water shortages, burst sewers, potholed roads, erratic refuse collection, collapsing primary health delivery system and unplanned illegal settlements.
Speaking to journalists recently, Chitungwiza Residents Trust Director Ms Alice Kuvheya said there is need to rally and mobilize all concerned actors to fight for improved service delivery in Chitungwiza by combating municipal corruption. She mentioned that this can be possible through enhanced access to municipal information which improves accountability, transparency and good governance in municipal operations.
Chitungwiza Community Development Network Programs Officer Mr Admire Mutize concurred;
“We suspect that there is huge corruption going on in Chitungwiza municipality but it is down played due to lack of information. We demand broad access to information especially when it comes to income and money within the municipalities coffers.
“Municipal information must be made readily accessible to interested groups and individuals for purposes of promoting public accountability as provided for the Section 5 of the Freedom of Information Act which gives council the duty to disclose governance related information and have a written information disclosure policy,” he said.
He also cited that Councillors are running the town like a rural area, quite a far cry from their action packed manifesto during elections.
With regards to demolitions, Chitungwiza Community Development Network Director, Mr Eddington Shayanowako said;
“We urge Council to use the gap or window period before a building structure becomes a home to demolish if it’s an illegal structure because once it becomes occupied, there is human interest. That’s when people start to raise the issue of human rights, destroy the properties before anyone occupies them”.
Also speaking, Chitungwiza Municipal Workers Union President and Spokesperson Reverand Ephraim Katsina bemoaned the salary arrears that workers have incurred for over 40 months.
“Workers have salary arrears of between 40-50 months while management is living large. The current Human Resources department is in disarray and whoever is manning it needs to have their heads examined. Casual workers too, have gone for months without being paid, right now they are being paid a salary less than the government gazette minimum wage of RTGS$2 500,” said Rev Katsina.
Meanwhile, he also stated that all municipal workers are demanding residential stands, a review of October salary, that all outstanding salaries and bonuses be paid before 31 December 2020, reinstatement of all workers who won their cases at the courts following unlawful dismissals among other things.
In the same vein, Council officials who include Councillors, management and workers are encouraged to improve their competency levels and take their jobs seriously in addressing the prevailing service delivery system.