Waste department warned to shape up or be disbanded

21 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Waste department warned to shape up or be disbanded Council recently took delivery of 53 new tractors but only a few have trailers to use in refuse collection.

Suburban

Diana Nherera Suburban Reporter

HARARE Mayor Jacob Mafume has warned the city’s waste management department to shape up or face the reality of refuse being collected by a private company.

Speaking at last week’s special council meeting, Cllr Mafume warned city directors who are not attending meetings to take their jobs seriously or else their departments will be outsourced to private companies.

“Unless the city’s waste management employees have already gotten jobs from private actors who are going to take over the refuse, if you have not taken jobs, the way we are operating, that department is going to go as sure as the sun rises.

“I have had two speeches.

“I’ve listened carefully to the speeches by the Minister and his interviews.

“He keeps emphasising that after three months, the refuse is going to go to a private actor.

“And the other directors who are not coming to these meetings, I will assure you, your departments are going to disappear in the blink of an eye if you are busy doing other things and not attending these meetings with the key policymakers because these are the decision-makers that affect your departments and your further continuation as departments in this town.

“So I don’t want people to come and cry and say councillors have let the waste management department go,” he said.

Cllr Mafume said numerous meetings have been held to discuss waste management with no improvement while agreed positions such as the need to buy trailers for new tractors acquired from Belarus for use in refuse collection were not being implemented. Council recently took delivery of 53 new tractors but only a few have trailers to use in refuse collection.

“We are doing what we can. This is our ninth meeting on refuse, we asked for tractors from Government but we have no trailers. So we are also getting to a point where we might end up having to agree because you cannot end up defending people who are not interested. We are defending and we are acting as if we are complicit in the desire not to collect the rubbish. So I don’t know whether those who work in that department are aware of the pronouncements by the Minister in every speech that he is making or interview that he is making or if you are aware you have already dusted your CVs and no longer want to work for council.

“Because honestly, if we are going to move at the pace of two trailers per six months and this approach of saying there are no resources to repair equipment, I’m telling you if what I know is the truth, there are private actors who already have compactors as we speak, who are ready and compactors in bonded warehouses. There are people who are ready. And don’t come and blame us councillors because I think at this point, we have really, honestly tried everything that we can to cajole, carrotise (sic), to stickitise (sic) this horse as best as we can. But we are still stuck at the same spot.”

Ward 16 Councillor Denford Ngadziore said there is need to offload useless workers.

“I suggest let’s make key decisions.

“We should offload certain criminals and certain elements within (the) City of Harare.

“I can assure you, we are going to meet in August in our 10th meeting discussing again the issue of refuse,” he said.

Cllr Ngadziore said he is worried over the failure to hold regular meetings by the Environmental  Management Committee.

“When I joined this council, I knew on City of Harare’s agendas, I would see one of the critical meetings that sat regularly was the Environment Committee with water, refuse and other issues on their agenda.

“But these days I’m actually worried because sometimes you go for a month without sitting.

“Who is overseeing these activities?

“That’s why we end up discussing committee issues in a special council (meeting),” he said.

Environmental Management Committee (EMC) chair Cllr Cecilia Chimbiri (Women’s Quota) said senior officials were withholding information from the committee.

“Most of the times, we are asking for reports from the directors sitting here. I do not get reports. Like I said in the last meeting, the reports that I get may be because those who chaired the committee from the previous council were not reading the reports, I am given reports from long back. In my style of doing things I am very thorough.  I read. I’ve gotten to see where the problem is,” she said.

Cllr Chimbiri said when she was elected EMC chair, she noticed that the last thing that was done by the previous chairperson was to preside over the sale of cattle on council farms.

“I can’t deal with cattle issues when there are water and waste management issues.

“Those were the agendas that were there at the EMC.

“Directors please may you assist me, I have always emphasised this.

“I have even said may the environment (committee) sit twice a week?

“I was told that would be monotonous.

“I am a thorough woman, I am not here to play. I am here on a call to serve so I will read every report including those by the previous chair and I noticed that there was a problem in the previous committee,” said Cllr Chimbiri.

Cllr Mafume advised Cllr Chimbiri to hold regular meetings.

“Let your committee meet regularly in terms of quantitative meetings. We are also happy with the qualitative input but maybe what might be needed together with the qualitative input is the quantitative input so that we join the qualitative with the quantitative so that we don’t get stuck.”

He said the EMC needs to sit with the town planning and finance committees to find out how many households are having their refuse collected and study ways the city can remodel and accelerate what it is doing.

Cllr Mafume said the waste management department is sleep-walking into a disaster.

“Don’t blame us when those in higher authority than some of us then make their decisions because we have given you due warning and the warning is that the appetite for receiving excuses that you are making is no longer there.

“People are saying we no longer have the capacity to make the decisions or we are part of the incapacity or corruption.

“To avoid you sleepwalking into the disaster, we can have the EMC, planning, finance and housing (committees) sit down. We need to know how we can redo the financial model in waste management and even the water department so that the money coming from waste management, we can track it.

“We tell a ward how much we are receiving from so many households, those that are not paying and what can be used with funds from paying households.

“Theoretically, if the households are paying, you can actually make a lease-hire arrangement using that regular payment and lease-purchase equipment.

“And you can go into that detail. So let’s have that meeting and then we move to the next agenda,” he said.

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