THE government has approved Harare City Council’s quest to borrow $29 million for procurement of service vehicles amid reports that the bulk of the local authority’s refuse collection fleet was grounded.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Harare mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni, confirmed the development yesterday, but referred questions to his deputy, Enock Mupamawonde.
“Yes, it is true, but talk to deputy mayor Mupamawonde for more details. He is the acting mayor in my absence. I am out of the country,” Manyenyeni said.
Mupamawonde said he had not yet received the “proper documentation to make a more informed comment”.
“I was just briefed that our request for borrowing powers had been approved, but I am yet to see the proper documentation so that I can make a comment beyond a confirmation,” he said.
But council sources said the approval was made last week by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and his Finance counterpart, Patrick Chinamasa.
Council currently only has 22 refuse trucks to collect garbage in the whole city with the bulk of its fleet grounded due to lack of spares.
This has resulted in the piling of uncollected garbage, posing a health hazard to the city’s 2,5 million residents.
In January, the local authority had to battle a typhoid outbreak with over 400 cases that led to at least two deaths.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) has released $4 million to the city council for rehabilitation of roads, but Mupamawonde described the amount as “a drop in the ocean”.
“We appreciate what they have done, but it is nothing in terms of the workload ahead of us. We appreciate the environment under which we are operating in,” he said.
“Our roads require a total overhaul and from that $4 million we can only go as far as patching of potholes. We will try to cover as much as we can, but if you look at the extent of the damage, more resources are required,” he said.