Residents to form Service Delivery Charters

Urban and rural residents’ representatives met in Harare today to chart the way forward regarding forming Service Delivery Charters, as tools for improved service delivery performance and citizen engagement in local governance.

Simbarashe Moyo: SDCs are social contracts between residents and service providers.
Simbarashe Moyo: SDCs are social contracts between residents and service providers.

The representatives drawn from stakeholders such as residents associations, civil society groups, business community, the media and churches among others agreed that after the conference report has been approved by delegates, a road map towards making of the Charters would be drafted.

The Charters idea follows recent consultations made with residents from various constituencies towards forming of a formidable block to engage respective local authorities for quality service delivery.

The Charters would confirm residents’ service delivery expectations and local authorities’ promise to deliver as expected by the ratepayers.

Delegates to the one day conference exchanged ideas on functions of a Service Delivery Charter as a concept, its legal and legislative framework.

Combined Harare Residents Association chairperson, Simbarashe Moyo, said he was pleased with the consensus reached regarding rolling out of the SDCs in all local authorities.

“The SDCs which would be signed by both parties provide a social contract between local authorities and citizens, and sets the tone for expected performance on the part of the respective local authorities,” Moyo told delegates.

Speaking at the conference, Harare mayor, Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni, commended residents for initiating the social contract.

He said SDCs would help make local authorities transparent, efficient, accountable and provide well priced services.

“This is one of the most effective ways of making service providers responsive to residents’ needs,” Manyenyeni said.

Manyenyeni said public offices would perform better where there was demand and expectations from pressure groups.

CHRA acting director, Lorraine Mupasiri, told delegates that SDCs would change engagements between residents and local authorities from those charactorised with confrontations to mutual relations.

She said a forum would be formed on paper upon which negotiations for responsiveness on the part of the local authority would be held.

“At the end of the day, ratepayers will get value for their money as their local authorities would perform as mandated,” said Mupasiri.

SDCs will have mechanisms through which ratepayers would monitor responsiveness of service providers to residents needs as agreed.

They will also be binding agreements, since both parties would append their signatures on them.

Countries such as Kenya, South Africa, those in Europe, Asia, America among others have functioning SDCs.

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