New Zimbabwe (London)

22 March 2014

Zimbabwe: Six Directors Leave As Harare Cuts Wage Bill

HARARE City council has retired six of its top directors in a bid to cut the local authority's bloated wage bill.

Town clerk, Tendai Mahachi, said the move was in line with a council resolution and government directives.

"The rationalisation exercise is meant to improve cost efficiency and cut down on bureaucracy," Mahachi said on Thursday.

Harare, which has been failing to pay salaries, has a bloated workforce of 9000 and targets to reduce the numbers by about 2000.

The wage bill is currently pegged at $8 million from a monhtly revenue base of $11 million, representing 70 % in terms of distribution.

Council wants to cut the wage bill to "acceptable levels" of 30% of total revenue as per government directive.

According to the envisaged retrenchment plan, at least 25 line managers are going home while seven directors will also be rendered jobless.

This comes as 18 directors at Town House were recently exposed as earning over $500,000 in monthly salaries.

Government has since moved in to set a cap of $6,000 for Town Clerks as their maximum wage, down from about $37,000 earned by the likes of Mahachi.

The new managerial structure at Town House will see the departments of social amenities, urban planning and Engineering service collapsed to form the department of Works.

The Chamber secretary's office has been transformed into the department of corporate services and will comprise the department of housing as well as the department of community services.

The local authority had two directors at the City treasury, but that will soon end as the new structure demands only one director.

Misheck Mubvumbi, the city treasurer might go due to advanced age as the local authority has reduced the retirement age from 65 to 60.

Also going for retrenchment is his counterpart, Cosmas Zvikaramba, who only returned to council last year after four years in the wilderness. Zvikaramba bounced back at Town House through the courts.

Currently, council has two directors at the city health, and according to the new structure, only one director will be left. Prosper Chonzi is likely to stay while his counterpart, Stan Mungofa, is going due to his advanced age.

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