Harare City Council is set to put in motion a financial blitz that will target businesses and entities which have not been paying required rates as it seeks to raise money to pay its workers cushioning and hardship allowances.
The campaign will also see the regularisation of illegal urban settlements.
Speaking in Harare today the Chairperson of the Human Resources Committee Councillor Jacob Mafume said they had decided that this was the best way to raise money as they battle to keep their workers at work.
“We shall be giving a cushioning allowance of ZWL$300 from the first of November and a hardship allowance of ZWL$200 per month to clear arrears from previous collective bargaining agreements”.
“The significance of this is that the lowest paid worker will be getting ZWL$1108 which is a significant improvement but the success of this will be dependent on the success of the blitz because unlike our counterparts we cannot print money but have to eat what we kill”, he said.
Mafume said the blitz will be aimed at those people and businesses who have not been paying their dues to Council or have not been reflecting in Council records for a variety of reasons.
“The parties involved shall thus conduct a blitz to create revenue and try to enforce the laws of the City”.
“We have people who have fallen through the cracks, some who are using residential areas for businesses and are not remitting anything to Council, so we want to spread the responsibility”, he said.
Cosmas Bungu, the Harare Municipal Workers Union (HMWU) Chairperson supported the idea saying the initiative would take in money that is currently lying out there.
“We have been concentrating a lot on the aspect of the revenue that is being captured by Council which is about ZWL$24 million per month but if you look at the potential it’s around ZWL$60 million”.
“It means someone out there owes the city money”, he said.
Council has been struggling to pay its workers lately with its health sector going on industrial action recently leading to the closure of various Polyclinics.
It has attributed the financial challenges to the larger macro-economic environment which it says has affected payments of rates, acquisition of service delivery utilities and its own ability to pay competitive salaries.