Local Government Committee Castigates City Council

Local Government, Public Works, and National Housing Parliamentary Committee Members have castigated Harare City Council for failure to exercise due diligence in the procurement of the local authority's equipment and poor service delivery for its residents. This comes after the City Council lost over US$1,8 million in two separate deals after the supplier failed to deliver some of the refuse trucks in the first contract and supplied others that did not meet specifications agreed upon in the second contract. Shurugwi North Legislator Hon. Ronald Nyati expressed concern over the lack of seriousness by the Council bosses in handling rate payers' money and demanded transparency on the matter.

On Tuesday last week, the Harare City Council led by the Acting Town Clerk Engineer Mabhena Moyo appeared before the Local Government Committee over the non-delivery of refuse trucks that were purchased by Council four years ago. Harare City Council was summoned to Parliament as a result of the Combined Harare Residents Trust’s petition on the matter last year in August. A year later, the Committee has finally managed to look into the issue.
According to the Acting Town Clerk, in 2017, the City Council awarded a tender to Mass Breed Investments, trading as FAW Zimbabwe to supply 30 refuse compactors for US$ 3.1 million which was paid in full by the local authority.

The company was engaged again in September of the same year for the supply of 10 double skip bin trucks worth US$ 1.5 million. However, the company supplied only 15 vehicles under the first deal prejudicing Council US$ 1.55 million while in the second deal the company supplied single skip bin trucks costing the council approximately US$ 330 000. Engineer Moyo argued that on numerous occasions, the automotive company failed to deliver the vehicles citing failure to secure foreign currency from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The City Council, therefore, engaged their lawyers Mbidzo, Muchadehama, and Makoni to deal with the supplier to deliver the outstanding 15 trucks and reimburse the variance for the 10 trucks that did not meet the tender specifications.

Hon. Christopher Chingosho (Headlands-ZANU PF) and Hon Cuthbert Mpame (Zvishavane Ngezi-ZANU PF) sought clarifications on why the City Council awarded another contract to a non-performing company and why they accepted the wrong skip bin trucks. In response, Engineer Moyo said that the council officials who were involved in the evaluation of the tender and the receipt of the skip bin trucks were facing disciplinary action while the local authority has adopted new standard operating procedures to prevent such instances from recurring.

However, the local authority in May this year advertised an invitation for tenders for the supply and delivery of refuse compactors. According to Section 194(1)(a) and (b) of the Constitution, citizens should have the right to "efficient and economical use of resources." That has not been the case with the City Council as residents have failed to enjoy basic service delivery from the local authority. Currently, the City of Harare has 14 functional refuse trucks to service 46 wards. Most of them have surpassed their lifespan.