The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Depleted Fleet Hampers Cleaning Efforts

Management squabbles, aged refuse trucks and inadequate equipment are weighing down efforts to clean up the city. Most of the city's suburbs are overcrowded implying multiplied garbage generation.

However, the city conducts once a week door-door garbage collections.

Investigations have shown that the present fleet of 32 is far below the required number of refuse trucks for a city of two million.

In 1967, Harare operated with 25 refuse trucks with the figures fluctuating in between the years. The city reached the highest number of trucks in 2004 when it operated with 64 trucks. After 2004 the city's vehicle replacement policy crumbled.

As of December last year Harare had only 20 trucks which were supposed to service 46 wards. This meant other wards went without refuse trucks.

The city only received 12 new trucks in December bringing the number to 32.

The supplier, Paza Buster is expected to deliver another 15 trucks by the end of February.

Treasury sources said delays in paying for the delivered trucks affected the supply of the imported Isuzu trucks.

A cumbersome procurement process for replacement parts such as batteries, accelerator cables, brake pads and oils for the vehicles requires up to eight signatures for the parts to be bought.

The process takes close to two weeks to be completed.

Sources indicated that management squabbles were affecting the smooth operations of the department.

"Town House interferes a lot in the operations of the department," said a source.

Some councillors are questioning the logic of transferring servicing of the refuse collection trucks to the engineering department headed by Engineer Philip Pfukwa.

They argue that the trucks in the department are also grounded while the department has not done anything to repair the city's pothole riddled roads.

A survey across the city yesterday showed that a number of refuse trucks were grounded at the Kelvin Road Depot. Twenty-eight were deployed in the suburbs yesterday.

Refuse collection started yesterday in Mbare, parts of Budiriro, Glen View, Sunningdale, the central business district and the Avenues area.

City spokesman Mr Leslie Gwindi said the programme would be reviewed periodically.

Town clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi said the garbage problem had grown bigger than the amenities department.

"A crisis is handled at the highest level. I am just doing that," he said.

Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda concurred that the amenities department was inadequately resourced.

"The real issues at the amenities department have more to do with the allocation of adequate financial and material resources," he said

He said the department was spending "inordinate amount of time putting out man-made fires at notoriously litter-ridden places like Copacabana, Market Square, Fourth Street Bus Terminus, Roadport, Pennywise Liquor Centre, kwaMereki, kwaZindoga, paHuku as well as the majority of shopping centres especially in the high density areas".

Garbage burning pollutes the environment and causes health problems to people with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.

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