Harare City Council will tomorrow hold a special council meeting to fire four directors who allegedly defied Government’s directive to cut salaries last year.This comes after similar attempts flopped last week due to a legal technicality.
Council plans to advertise the posts of the fired directors within two weeks. Sources said those facing the chop are acting town clerk Dr Cainos Chingombe, Health Services director Dr Prosper Chonzi, director of Works Engineer Phillip Pfukwa and acting finance director Mr Tendai Kwenda.
The quartet’s jobs were spared last week after it emerged that council could not smuggle another agenda item into a special council meeting.
However, councillors are divided over the issue after it emerged that at least 40 middle and line managers also benefited from the mega salaries.
Councillors are now divided on who should be fired because suspending all those who received salaries that were over and above what was stipulated by the Government, would cripple operations.
According to an audit report sanctioned by the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ministry, seven executives continued to earn between $12 000 and $21 000 from October 2014 to June 2015, as opposed to $10 450 for the highest earner stipulated by Government.
This, the report said, prejudiced the city of over $550 000. However, the city may have been prejudiced of millions considering that over 40 managers also benefited.
These include the city doctors, engineers, lawyers, planners among other managers.
“When we were summoned by Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere last week, he told us that we should not fire only one director if all of them benefited. We are now going to finish the job on a special meeting scheduled for Wednesday.”
“We however cannot fire all those who benefitted. We will look at the level of influence,” said a councillor.
Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni yesterday said the city was now seeking external help to investigate and come up with recommendations.
“We are already doing what needs to be done. It has taken us long, but the issue is very much alive. This is part of the 10 Point Plan I have given to the acting town clerk. We will wait for council or independent help.
“The benefit of external help is that the whole process will not be politicised,” he said.
Asked on what will be done to those who benefitted, Mayor Manyenyeni said he did not want to preempt an outcome.
Last week, councillors failed to suspend four directors at a special council meeting due to a legal technicality.
The special council meeting had been convened to notify council of acting town clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube’s suspension.
According to Section 84 (4) of the Urban Councils Act, no other matter other than that specified in a notice of meeting was allowed to be discussed. The full council last week endorsed the decision by Mayor Manyenyeni to suspend the acting town clerk, without pay and benefits.
She will not be permitted to visit council offices without written approval of council during her suspension.
“This serves to inform you that I am of the opinion that there is reasonable suspicion that you may be guilty of such conduct that is desirable that you should not be permitted to carry your work.
“I therefore, hereby suspend you pending investigation into acts of misconduct that you may have committed. In particular, you have failed, refused or neglected to carry out instructions and key council resolutions,” reads the letter given to Mrs Ncube.
However, Harare lawyer Mr Sternford Moyo, wrote to Mayor Manyenyeni informing him that his actions were unlawful, null, void and of no force and effect.
Yesterday, Mrs Ncube did not report for duty. Herald