Refuse collection crisis dominates special council meeting

21 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Refuse collection crisis dominates special council meeting Refuse collection topped the agenda at last week’s special council meeting.

Suburban

Diana Nherera Suburban Reporter

The refuse collection crisis in Harare dominated last week’s special council meeting as councillors outlined the waste collection challenges their wards and the city in general are facing.

Councillors told the meeting that vendors contributing to increased garbage piling garbage at bus ranks and the lack of bins in front of shops in the central business district.

They also bemoaned the fact that the city was facing a refuse collection crisis yet new tractors bought to improve waste collection were parked at the district offices in the various wards because they do not have trailers. Old refuse trucks were also parked at council workshops due to lack of repairs yet in some cases the repairs needed were minor, the meeting also heard.

Ward 41 Councillor Kudzai Kadzombe requested an update from council officials on the trailers for the tractors which are meant to augment refuse compactors in clearing rubbish dumps and collection garbage in residential areas.

“We have had a tractor which has just been sitting at the district office, either being used by the roads and water department not specifically for the need that we need it for,” said Cllr Kadzombe.

Town clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango said the city has been going around to see where they can source trailers.

“There are certain places where we have given orders to say as soon as this one is finished, we will the bring it. We have ordered 12. Two are already finished.

“We are awaiting payment for the two. For the remaining 10, they have given us a lead time of about four weeks,” he said.

Deputy Mayor Rosemary Muronda, who is Councillor for Ward 7, said the timeframe of two trailers in four weeks means the city might spend the whole year without getting the trailers and the tractors will just be idle at the district offices.

Ward 29 Councillor Blessing Duma wondered why the resolution for every shop in town to have bins in the front was not being implemented.

“Remember we have got a resolution again where we resolved that every shop in town must have bins in front. And those who don’t have, we said that it is a penalty. Is that resolution being implemented or not? If it was not, we expect the implementation of that resolution as soon as yesterday,” he said.

Cllr Dumba said they made a resolution that beverage manufacturers generating plastic containers like Varun Beverages and Delta should pay a certain amount of deposit.

“Where are we with those engagements for all these people that generate a lot of waste like those of drinks and bottled water in terms of implementation?”

Eng Chisango said they hoped once residents repaired refuse compactors and the new ones collecting refuse in their areas, bill payments will improve.

“Once we deploy refuse compactors like what we have done in certain wards, we expect our (revenue) inflows to also go up and then we should be able to fund that (new trailers). We probably need about US$500 000 for the remaining trailers which we should be able to mobilise,” said Eng Chisango.

Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume said council needed a clear strategy on buying trailers for the tractors because the tractors were quick fix solution to the shortage of refuse compactors.

“We need to order from multiple sources and they are saying they ordered from one. I thought we could generate the 45 requisitions then we order from two or three manufacturers,” he said.

Cllr Mafume said for the price of one refuse compactor, they could buy five or six tractors.

“So in my thinking, a layman’s thinking, I thought tractors were a quick win and that they should be moving around and at least it will be giving some relief to the residents.

“Even if we then adopt that issue that if they are not being used in the wards, we have a tractor a street in the CBD and they then cover maybe two streets,” he said.

Ward 8 Councillor Knowledge Mutapaire said some of the broken down refuse compactors needed small parts to get them on the road and council officials should focus on that instead of trying to buy new compactors.

“What is more expensive to fix a vehicle requiring a starter or buying a new compactor? Why don’t we have a budget for the fleet requiring repairs so that they are repaired?”

Cllr Mutapaire said before he became a councillor he wondered why people blamed council for lack of services but he was beginning to get an appreciation of how council officials drag matters while services collapse.

“Now that I’m here, I have noticed people can say I am failing as a councillor because of council employees who are not doing their job.  I could face that same fate that I have failed and be voted out of office.

“Let’s look at these officials, when we said so many trailers need to be fixed, if there are many companies that can do the job, let them do that instead of me being labelled as failing yet we will be talking here but the officials do not implement the resolutions.

“The council employees will remain (at work) when I’m voted out of office,” he said.

Ward 17 Cllr Happymore Gotora added: “We are just taking for granted what the purpose of a special council (meeting is). Because some of the issues that we come to discuss here we are supposed to discuss at committee level. We can’t be having so many special councils discussing refuse collection yet we have got a committee to focus on that. We are supposed to hear it at full council and not to keep discussing some of these issues. Our full council is actually due. We are supposed to be receiving these reports at full council (committees and officials) rather than spending time discussing these issues.”

But Cllr Mafume said the meeting was justified because Government had declared refuse collection a national disaster and council must find ways of tackling the challenge.

“So for us to respond to Government saying we are discussing in a committee when Government declared a national disaster at the highest level. They also created a special Cabinet taskforce to deal with waste management.

“They then created Chenesa Harare together with us and allocated resources using civil emergency measures.

“So for us to say we will receive reports from our council, we might end up having dissonance with Government and they might end up thinking council does not care about what is happening in their city.

“These special council (meetings) send a message not only to the staff but key stakeholders that we are taking these issues as seriously as those stakeholders are taking them,” he said.

 

Share This:

Sponsored Links

Survey


We value your opinion! Take a moment to complete our survey

This will close in 20 seconds