Masunda defends high salaries at Town House

Huge salaries paid top executives at the Harare City Council were appropriate as they helped attract qualified staff to join the local authority, says former Harare Mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda.


Speaking at the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Frank Talk panel discussion in Harare yesterday evening, Masunda, said: “An organisation which offers peanuts to its workers would attract monkeys.”

Masunda said though the salary scales would be reached after surveys by specialist research companies, Harare was a big authority which needed well paid staff in the right offices.

He however, expressed the need for integrity and professionalism on the part of recruited staff to run public offices.

The former city father said top officials at local authorities and other government enterprises should sacrifice personal gain for the national cause.

“Lack of mentors and proper training in corporate governance is partly to blame for the mismanagement rocking government enterprises and other public entities,” Masunda said.

Masunda also said people in public offices failed to champion the national cause due to politics of poverty.

He said people failed to professionally serve public entities as they would be motivated by the lust to make quick money and eradicate poverty.

Though he believed that specialist staff should be well remunerated, Masunda could not believe the obscene salaries said to be earned by the Harare Town Clerk and other directors.

Speaking at the same forum director for the Harare Residents Trust, Precious Shumba, said laws governing local government should be aligned with the new constitution to improve accountability and service delivery.

“Alignment of the laws would clearly demarcate responsibilities of the minister, mayor and council management,” said Shumba.

Shumba said there was discord at local authorities as the responsible minister would unconstitutionally run day to day council affairs, while elected city fathers would be wrongly made answerable to management.

Belinda Chinowawa of ZLHR partly blamed lack of political neutrality among people in public offices for the rot eating away at public enterprises.

“Key decision making should be decentralised to allow for professional guidance at public institutions,” Chinowawa said.

Chinowawa called for the activation of the Parliamentary Audit Committee, general parliamentary oversight and creation of the Citizens’ Charter like in countries such as the UK.

The citizens’ charter would make state enterprises accountable to the people.

The programs officer with Chitungwiza Residents Association, Marvellous Khumalo, called on people to continue exposing corruption where ever it raises its head as this would benefit the nation.

Khumalo questioned the sincerity of Jonathan Moyo’s expose of corruption at government enterprises.

“Zimbabwe risks being taken for a ride and falling victim to Zanu (PF) factional and succession politics, since the corruption whistle blower could be doing so to give his faction mileage ahead of the party succession determination,” Khumalo said.

Khumalo questioned why Zanu (PF) would expose the corruption only now, 34 years after independence.

The ‘salarygate’ is currently talk of the town as some chief executives at public enterprises and parastatals were reportedly earning more than $500, 000 per month at a time the enterprises where not delivering and failing to pay workers’ salaries.

The ZLHR Frank Talk series provide a platform for citizens to freely express themselves about issues to do with governance, public accountability among other issues of public concern.

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