The programme on Enhancing City Diplomacy and Decentralised Cooperation in Zimbabwe that was implemented by UCAZ from 2003 to 2007 with funding from the European Union is bearing fruit. The City of Harare was one of the 10 local authorities that participated in the programme whose overall objectives were to promote dialogue and political healing between local authorities and non-state actors and to promote and strengthen decentralised cooperation in local governance.
The City of Harare has now decentralised service delivery to its districts where identification of projects and implementation now take place. This will be made possible by the retention of 25% of the revenue generated in the districts for the implementation of service delivery projects. Council has established a fully-fledged team to oversee project identification, implementation. Mr Stanely Ndemera, the Director of Finance for the City of Harare revealed this new direction during a Stakeholders Workshop that was held at the Waterfalls Community Hall recently. It is expected that districts will now implement projects according to the revenue inflows.
Mr Stanley Ndemera was presenting the Mid-year Budget Performance and Way Forward for 2018. He said the aims of the budget review were to; report on the performance of the current budget (2017) up to 31 July 2017; scrutinize the budget; ensure that the budget was correct and represents the needs of the organization in the best way possible; highlight key drivers to performance and impacts; foster a sense of ownership in stakeholders; foster an informed platform for creation of the ensuing year’s budget
Even though many stakeholders commended council for the decentralization of service delivery, Mr Ndemera said that council was facing challenges which included; increasing debtors; increasing creditors; stagnant revenue generation streams; poor collection efficiency; over reliance on main revenue stream; constrained funding options and tired public/private sector participation.
The Finance Director further reported that council was implementing various projects which were at various stages of completion. Council was however finding it difficult to meet its service delivery targets due to poor revenue inflows, he said. He said the city was owed a total of $686 million with residents owing $283m and commercial enterprises $259m. Industrial entities and government owed council $46m and $26 respectively.
The Finance Director also informed participants that council had procured 20 refuse compactors and 10 skip bins whose delivery has been completed. This will augment the existing fleet of 20 refuse compactors. Refuse collection is expected to improve across the city.
In addition, the council has also ordered road maintenance equipment. Mr Ndemera said that council would no longer have to hire road equipment.
Mr Israel Mabhoo, from the Citizens Development Centre, a residents pressure group on service delivery based in Harare hailed council for engaging citizens and decentralising service delivery to districts, a process which he said empowered citizens to determine the nature of services that they require in their areas. He said this meant service delivery was now demand driven. He said with the open door policy adopted by council, there was no reason for citizens to engage in demonstrations against council.
Mr Mabhoo termed the initiative by council whereby it involves the citizens as “Disrupting Service Delivery System”. He defined it as doing business in the unusual norm with a sole purpose of maximising production; client’s quality of life and investment returns.
He said that the City of Harare was exemplifying this in disrupting service delivery provision citing the Customer Care-Service Center established by council; departmental operations information; Service Delivery Charter; Stakeholders Policy, Rapid Results Initiative and Budget Consultations at ward-level among other improvements. “Summarily it’s an open-door policy at its best, said Mrs Mabhoo.