Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Government has set up a salary structure for management at Harare City Council that will see the Town Clerk earning $10 475,75 per month in line with efforts to cut expenditure on salaries to enhance service delivery. The new salary structure was confirmed by the Secretary for Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Engineer George Mlilo in a letter to council on July 15.
“I wish to inform you that the Local Government Board has considered the matter of the salary of your Town Clerk, and the minister has approved a total package for the Town Clerk not exceeding $10 475,75,” he said. “The salary to benefits ratio must be 60:40. The value of all allowances and other benefits that accrue to the Town Clerk must not exceed 40 percent of the total pay package.”
Eng Mlilo said the new pay structure would only apply to senior managers and excludes those earning salaries below the poverty datum line. “The council is expected to implement this new pay package with immediate effect and cascade same to other senior managers’ posts,” he said. In his State of the Nation Address last week, President Mugabe bemoaned the continued payment of high salaries to managers at most councils and public enterprises despite most of them struggling to pay shop floor workers on time or discharge their mandates.
A recent letter by suspended Harare Town Clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi demanding a huge exit package from the council exposed that he was earning up to $27 000 per month despite a Government directive last year pegging his salary at $9 000. Speaking in an interview yesterday, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said the directive would be spread to all councils so that they reduce their wage bills and focus on service delivery.
“We want to ensure that all councils reduce their wage bills,” he said. “Those who think that the money we have offered is little, they are free to retrench themselves. “What we have discovered is that there are some councils where 10 or so managers take as much as is being taken by 300 other employees at the bottom end of the salary structure.”
Minister Kasukuwere said they were also looking at the procurement process in councils to ensure that they are not overcharged by service providers. “We have also directed councils to negotiate for downward reviews of money charged by service providers,” he said. “We have realised that there are loopholes there that have resulted in councils being overcharged, affecting service provision in the process.”
Minister Kasukuwere urged council employees, irrespective of their positions, to concentrate on service delivery to improve the livelihoods of people. Government and the private sector recently came up with a National Code of Corporate Governance aimed at bringing sanity to the public sector and local authorities. The code came after media exposure of massive and undeserved remuneration of top executives, flouting of tender procedures and other murky deals in both the private and public entities.