Harare City Council will not renew Harare Water director Engineer Christopher Zvobgo’s contract following its expiry last month. Reports from council suggest Eng Zvobgo has fallen victim to a rationalisation exercise aimed at containing costs. The city last year offered Eng Zvobgo a one year contract when he had reached the 60 years retirement benchmark set by council.
Eng Zvobgo is regarded as an expert and the city last year said it was giving him time to mentor a successor. Sources at Town House said the city would terminate contracts of workers above 50 years starting with those who were employed from 2009, those absent from work for a consecutive five days and those who went AWOL in 2007 and 2008 and were reinstated.
Human Resources and General Purposes Committee chairperson councillor Wellington Chikombo refused to comment on Eng Zvobgo’s imminent departure. He rubbished reports that the city was going to retrench again.
A councillor in the human resources committee confirmed Eng Zvobgo was on his way out following a meeting held on Wednesday. “Yes, we met on Wednesday and we concurred that we will not renew Eng Zvobgo’s contract. We felt that his subordinates now have the capacity to continue where he left off,” said the councillor.
Eng Zvobgo was re-engaged on a strict one-year performance-based contract coupled with stringent conditions. In 2014 council collapsed several departments and created a new structure, which saw some directors losing their jobs. The new structure comprises the departments of Corporate Services, Finance, Health, Department of Human Resources and Public Safety and Works.
The city also retrenched 1 190 ordinary employees — including 10 middle managers — as part of measures to cut its salary bill. Remuneration was consuming more than half of Harare’s revenue until Government directed a pay cut for all local authorities and parastatal bosses.
The city had 45 middle managers and an overall workforce of 6 348. Much of revenue generated by Harare City Council goes towards payment of salaries at the expense of service delivery.