New Zimbabwe (London)

18 January 2014

Zimbabwe: VP Wades Into Bitter Harare Pay Dispute

VICE President Joice Mujuru has been sucked into the raging row between unpaid Harare city council workers and management amid calls for the removal of Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi.

City employees have not been paid for two months but top management are said to take home their massive perks of no less than $10,000 each without fail.

Mujuru reportedly met workers representatives from the Zanu PF-aligned Harare Municipal Workers Union led by Cosmas Bungu on Wednesday last week.

Bungu pleaded with her to sack Mahachi, insiders close to the deliberations told New Zimbabwe.com.

"She understood our situation because these people running the affairs of the city are selfish," said one of the workers representatives on condition of anonymity.

"We have always blamed the politicians but look what they have been doing. Giving themselves thousands and buying plush vehicles while workers have not received their November and December salaries let alone bonuses."

Local government minister Ignatius Chombo last week met Mahachi and Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni as tempers threatened to boil over following reports that top officials were milking the local authority while low-level workers wallow in poverty.

"I met with the town clerk and Mayor, they never told me about workers problems but I ordered them to give me a schedule of the executive salaries in Harare failure of which there will be no pay for them this month," Chombo said.

Manyenyeni then called for a meeting with council human resources chairperson Wellington Chikombo and other city bosses but the gathering was aborted after the city's human resources director Kinos Chimombe failed to pitch up.

"We will meet at a later date when all concerned parties are available," Manyenyeni said.

Mahachi is believed to earn a whopping $18,000 in basic salary plus perksthat include a $2000 entertainment allowance delivered to him every Friday from the city's water department.

Most parts of capital have been affected by water supply problems for close to a decade leading to the outbreak of waterborne diseases.

Mahachi took delivery of a top of the range vehicle paid for by council late last year valued at $190,000. It was second car since he joined council as town clerk in 2007 on a four year renewable contract.

Meanwhile, the chamber secretary, Josephine Ncube, is said to be taking home in excess of $17,000 each month on top of 200 litres of fuel and unlimited airtime along with other managers in grade two.

Ncube was last year allocated a Jeep Cherokee purchased from a local car dealer for a staggering $117,000 together with other directors across the board.

Public relations executive Leslie Gwindi reportedly earns some $15,000 excluding perks and allowances.

Gwindi also serves as the chairperson of the city's football team Harare City from which he draws more benefits and is reportedly eyeing the Zimbabwe Football Association's top job.

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