Sunday, 24 April 2016

KASUKUWERE CUTS COUNCILLORS' ALLOWANCES

THE Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing has slashed incidental allowances for councillors and council officials from $50 to $10 per day while the ban on workshops, seminars and training sessions within council areas of jurisdiction remains in place. 


The latest directive comes after the ministry also pegged various allowances and bonuses councillors must get as it tries to plug loopholes which some local authorities were using to siphon rate payers’ money at the expense of service delivery.

In a circular, permanent secretary in the ministry Engineer George Mlilo, said councillors must also provide proof of accommodation and meal receipts to receive the allowances.

“The following travel and subsistence rates for all local authorities have been set with immediate effect; proved accommodation and meals as per authentic receipt, out of pocket allowance $10 per 24 hour period, unproved breakfast; $10, unproved lunch; $10, unproved dinner; $25. Travel and subsistence may only be paid for travel outside the council area of jurisdiction.

“The new rates for allowances come into effect from the date that the respective council’s 2016 budget is approved. Councillors nominated to sit on council owned boards should receive an allowance that is the equivalent of half of their normal allowance for duties carried at the board,” reads part of the directive by Engineer Mlilo.

He also noted that the ban on councils to hold workshops, seminars and training sessions within the council area of jurisdiction, remained in force.

Last month, Government also pegged monthly allowances mayors and councillors must receive. Harare mayor is supposed to get $1 250, his deputy; $840, Harare committee chairpersons will get $560 while ordinary councillors will get $550. In Bulawayo the mayor is supposed to get $1 000, deputy mayor; $660, council committee chairperson; $450 while an ordinary councillor will get $400. In other cities the mayor must get $840, deputy mayor; $550, committee chairperson; $370 and ordinary councillor; $350.

Municipal mayors will get $600, deputy mayors; $400, committee chairpersons; $300 and ordinary councillors; $300. Town local board mayors will get $560, deputy mayors; $350, committee chairpersons; $300 and councillors; $250.

For Lupane and Chirundu councils the mayors will get $350, deputy mayors; $280, committee chairpersons; $240 while ordinary councillors will get $200.

Meanwhile the relations between Bulawayo and Government seems to be getting worse with the local authority indicating that too many directives from the ministry were inhibiting their democratic space.

According to a Bulawayo council confidential report, Bulawayo councillors accused the Government of interfering in “petty issues” which they said was compromising council’s autonomy.

“The mayor (Councillor Martin Moyo) expressed concern about Government’s inclination of late to interfere in council operations, even of involving itself in petty issues by way of ministerial directives. This, in his view, compromised council’s autonomy as enshrined in the constitution, and it would only be proper for council to voice its autonomous protestation against this, as council had done nothing wrong.

“Concurring, the deputy mayor (Clr Gift Banda) questioned the jurisdiction of the minister in terms of the new constitution. There is need for the issue of directives and their legitimacy to be examined and clarified as this is negatively affecting council’s operation. In support, Clr Silas Chigora said that council should take legal advice on this matter and should demonstrate against these continuous directives from the ministry,” reads part of the report.
Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has however, dismissed the move by the councillors saying they should never forget that they fell under the ministry and they could not do as they will.

“The Local Government Ministry is their parent ministry meant to oversee how these councils functions. I know that the reason most of these councils are starting to make noise is because we are closing in on their corrupt activities, they should expect more of these directives as we move towards ensuring that council resources are not needlessly abused. 

As I said during the week, I will be visiting Bulawayo soon to look into a number of issues that have been brought to my attention. A directive is a directive and they know that they cannot just challenge it,” said Minister Kasukuwere. sunday news

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