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Mafume says council burdened with SOEs, govt debt

By Staff Writer

Harare Mayor, Jacob Mafume, says the money owed to the city council by the government and its parastatals is a burden and is crippling service delivery in the capital.

Speaking to the media in Harare on Monday, Mafume blamed the way the City of Harare is operating as a major reason for the growing debt.

“Debtors to the council are a cause for concern,” Mafume said.

“Ironically, the government is one of our biggest debtors, and we appreciate that the minister is aware of this issue. As you know, in this country, councils are among the few remaining service providers that operate on a post-service basis.

“We provide the service first, and then you pay for it. We are still the service provider that gives you the service and then waits to be paid later. This has created a problem. The issue of debt needs to be addressed.”

The Harare City Council has previously stated that the government and its departments owe millions of US dollars, which has hindered the city’s ability to provide some essential services.

Harare residents have been caught in the middle of a blame game between the council and the central government, which has resulted in the deterioration of the capital city.

This has made it difficult to manage outbreaks of diseases like cholera.

Mafume said the council will engage with the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Winston Chitando, to discuss settling the debt.

“We will compile a list of debtors and present it to the minister. Since he has acknowledged the issue, we will kindly ask him to raise it during cabinet meetings.

“He is a capable minister with private sector experience. I am confident that since they are aware of the problems, we can use persuasion to find a solution. Our options are limited when it comes to the government. We cannot take each other to court. There are many things we rely on them for,” Mafume added.

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