Workers at the financially crippled Chitungwiza municipality are set to go on strike, furious at the news that a team appointed by government to revive the town has been a huge drain on their financial resources.
The state controlled Herald reported on Tuesday that the workers have served council with a strike notice, citing the salaries and allowances the team is getting as excessive. The workers have themselves gone for months without pay.
The team, appointed in January by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo to revive the municipality, is reportedly costing council tens of thousands of dollars.
Operations at Chitungwiza have for years been dodged by allegations of corruption with councillors and officials accused of engaging in rampant abuse of funds. More shocking was the news that the team appointed to investigate these allegations has granted itself excessive allowances and salaries.
The leader of this team, Fungai Mbetsa, the Manicaland provincial administrator, has since January been getting US$26,525 in salaries and allowances per month. His deputy has been getting US$14,500 while committee members get about US$13,500 each.
The Herald said allegations were that each member of the committee gets US$375 for entertainment, US$300 phone airtime, US$300 lunch and US$200 for other necessities. These allowances are paid after 10 days and this translates to US$3,525 after 30 days.
Mbetsa, by virtue of being leader of the team, gets US$4,175 in allowances after every 10 days and the council also forks out US$2,000 weekly for his hotel bills. He reportedly gets US$1,000 for other 'necessities' as part of the allowances. Each member of the team also gets 100 litres of fuel each week.