HARARE residents are unlikely to see a resolution to the long-drawn service delivery saga, amid continued fights between Harare City Council (HCC) and government.
HCC has accused government of failing to approve its 2019-2020 budget, while government on its part has ordered the municipality to immediately release ZWL78 million for water treatment chemicals to Chemplex.
HCC has reportedly been conducting all its business using collections based on the 2018 budget, implying it was still charging rates approved two years ago in an hyper-inflationary environment.
On their microblogging Twitter handle, HCC wrote: “There is no way council can operate when it’s using a 2018 budget. Government (has) not (yet) approved the 2019 budget. Stuck with 2018 figures, which are uneconomical, the 2020 budget again is not yet approved. Someone whisper to government that the performance of Harare is good for Zimbabwe. Failure to pay Chemplex is one symptom (of failure).”
In an interview with the Zim Morning Post, Acting Mayor Enock Mupamawonde said it was difficult for the municipality to improve on service delivery due to the prevailing economic crisis.
According to inside information, Harare municipality reportedly requires about ZWL18 million monthly for water treatment chemicals and other related expenses, without which clean water to the capital would be difficult to deliver.
Local Government minister July Moyo’s recent directive to HCC to pay the State-linked Chemplex a staggering ZWL78 million for water treatment chemicals sent tongues wagging, with the city fathers questioning the minister’s interest in the deal.
Moyo last year ordered Harare to source all its water treatment chemicals through Chemplex.
In a letter dated January 21, 2020, which is in possession of this publication and said to have originated from his office, Moyo ordered council to settle the Chemplex debt without fail and blocked the local authority from engaging alternative water treatment chemicals suppliers.
“I am gravely concerned that despite requesting you to improve the management of the water account so that Harare would not fall behind with the payment for water treatment chemicals, your council has accumulated a debt of ZWL78 million with Chemplex Corporation, which is your prime chemical supplier,” Moyo’s letter read.