PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has set up an inter-ministerial team led by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga to take over and speed up service delivery in all opposition-run councils.
Most urban councils are controlled by the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance.
Mnangagwa described the opposition councillors as failures, and said Chiwenga’s team would ensure seamless provision of services to the people.
“They (MDC councillors) have the duty to provide services to the people, but because we have seen that they have failed, this is why under the second republic we have now instituted an inter-ministerial taskforce headed by the Vice-President to deal… overriding the authority of these councils so that we can provide our people with the services which these authorities have failed to provide,” he said.
He bemoaned what he termed rampant corruption in local authorities.
“For instance, Harare City Council — I think one-third of the councillors and the people there are under investigation (for corruption). Some have been brought to court and the process is ongoing.
“I think you realise that the municipalities have a role, they are set up to deal with service delivery for the community which they lead — it can be rural district councils or urban councils, like the Harare council.
“So, as the central government we are intervening, using central government resources to do so. This is how you realise, the question of housing, the question of correcting wetlands, the question of clean water.
“I think you have seen on television now where new equipment is being installed; that equipment is not being bought by municipal councils, no. It is the central government that is intervening using our resources at central government level to make sure there are services,” Mnangagwa said.
He said government would soon commission two dams to provide water to Harare.
But MDC Alliance secretary for local government Sesel Zvidzai said central government should stop meddling in the affairs of local authorities.
“What does bringing in an inter-ministerial taskforce mean? Does it confirm that their Minister of Local Government (July Moyo) has failed?
“That is just a lot of heat, no light. Councils need a functioning economy and the central government must stop interfering with employment processes of officials so that councils can employ on merit.”
Zvidzai said government should pay up the debts it owes to local authorities and ensure they have access to foreign currency to solve the problems they are experiencing.
“Most of the problems were caused by the Zanu PF regime and there is no local authority that can function in an economy that is not functioning. As long as they do not rejig the economy, Chiwenga and his team are bound to fail,” Zvidzai said.