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Minister Garwe decries local authorities gross incompetence

By Staff Writer

LOCAL authorities have failed to deliver services to residents in both urban and rural councils due to high levels of corruption and incompetence, Local Government Minister Daniel Garwe has told Parliament.

According to Garwe, even though devolution funds were being channelled to provinces for purposes of service delivery, the local authorities continued to offer poor services.

The minister was responding to MP Musweweshiri, who requested the “government’s position with regards to councils that were underperforming, especially those in urban areas?”

However, Garwe told Speaker Jacob Mudenda that most local authorities were underperforming with Harare City Council failing to produce a budget.
“The councils that are failing to provide water are domiciled in urban areas and the reason why they are not providing water is not because they are not capacitated, but there are several reasons. One of those reasons is corruption. Let me repeat, the level of corruption in the local authorities, especially in the urban areas is astronomical.

“Some of the local authorities have even failed to produce budgets. They have failed to give us budgets and as we speak, a clear example is Harare City Council. They have failed to prepare a budget. This is the level of incompetence within these local authorities,” Garwe said.
In the past two decades, Harare has failed to give clean water to residents. Most people are using unprotected sources of water risking diarrheal diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery.

Since last year, Zimbabwe has been grappling with a cholera outbreak that also affected the region.

According to the Health Ministry statistics, as of April 11, 2024, 31,705 cholera cases, and 683 deaths with a cumulative case fatality rate (CFR) of 2.2 per cent, were reported from 63 districts across the country’s 10 provinces.

Another legislator Caston Matewu (CCC) from Marondera Central questioned what the government was doing to capacitate the councils.

“The minister talked about service delivery in terms of water. Many of our authorities do not have water because they can simply not afford to expand their waterworks. What is the government doing to capacitate councils for them to provide clean water to the residents?” Matewu asked.

Garwe responded, “Through the devolution policy, the government has decentralised the functions of local authorities in provinces. Devolution funds are being channelled to provinces and then cascaded to both the RDC and Urban councils for purposes of service delivery. However, we still experience the problems that I highlighted earlier on.”

The government has established a Commission of Inquiry into Harare City Council led by Retired High Court Judge, Justice Maphios Cheda.

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