Home » Governance » Collapsing Chitungwiza Appeals to Mugabe

CHITUNGWIZA has appealed to President Robert Mugabe to help save the local authority from complete collapse as fed-up creditors go after council properties while workers become increasingly militant over salary arrears going back ten months.

Chamber Secretary, Priscilla Vengesai, told a parliamentary portfolio committee Monday that they had written to Mugabe pleading with the President to use presidential powers to stop creditors from attaching council’s properties until its finances improve.

“We recently wrote to the minister of local government to request the President to use his presidential powers and protect our assets from creditors who have declared intentions to attach our properties, unfortunately, we are still to get any favourable response,” she said.

Vengesai said the current financial woes could be traced to mismanagement by jailed former town clerk Godfrey Tanyanyiwa.

“When we came in, we inherited a number of challenges, the workers where militant and bitter with everyone,” she said.

“The wage bill for June 2011 was higher than their levels of revenue collection. They had a wage bill standing at $1.8 million while their revenue collection stood at $1.2 million.

“They (Tanyanyiwa administration) then started not to pay statutory obligations and other institutions such as medical aid and pension fund.

“We inherited a debt standing at $8.4 million from banks, and this we had to repay. We have paid substantially and are now left with $2.9 million.”

Town clerk, George Makunde, said top management were living in fear of hungry workers who have gone for ten months without pay and have been terrorising their bosses in demand of the outstanding salaries.

“The working environment is not safe for the management especially these girls who are being attacked every day. It’s a tense situation that we have to deal with daily basis,” Makunde said.

“You (MPs) must come and see for yourselves the workers have a military mentality. I believe the challenges that we are facing as council are now beyond us and need everyone’s assistance and input.

“The Chitungwiza case should be made a national project so that we all work for the resuscitation of the town so that we all may ivy to be associated with it again.

“At times we resort to calling in riot police officers to deal with the situation. The chamber secretary was once locked up in her office until police came in to rescue her.”

The officials appeared before the committee after workers representatives told legislators of rampant plunder by the top management through obscene salaries run through secret executive payroll.

The directors said the local authority still owed its workers 10 month salaries and was now hoping for a government bail out to address the situation which they described as volatile.

Source : New Zimbabwe