Corruption threatens Harare Water

The intended illegal and corrupt redeployment of unskilled council workers to key positions at the Harare Water Department will further cripple water delivery, says Kenias Chivuzhe, president of the Water and Allied Workers Union (WAWUZ).

Kenias Chivuzhe
Kenias Chivuzhe

The Union recently wrote to the Harare City Council indicating that it suspected that the exercise would replace qualified staff acting in key positions with unskilled workers related to top council officials.

Coupled with misallocation of council funds, this would fast collapse water supplies to Zimbabwe’s capital city and its dependent towns.

WAWUZ revealed that plans were at an advanced stage for Harare to assign some unskilled clerical staff as technicians with the Water Department, based on nepotism and without consultation.

“We need to remind your office that if the above exercise is being carried out without consultation, it becomes unfair practice in terms of the labour Act and its illegality would border on sophisticated slavery,” reads a letter written the town clerk by WAWUZ on September 15, 2014.

The City of Harare Human Resources and General Purposes Committee made a resolution on October 29, 2012 that those council employees who had been acting in higher positions for long periods be appointed to the posts.

This was implemented in other departments other than water.

The Water Department document with names of employees deserving to benefit from the Human Resources and General Purposes Committee resolution went missing from the council information system. This rendered some 185 workers acting in key positions subject to reassignment to vacant posts and replaced by those from unrelated departments.

The union has threatened legal action if the deployments go ahead, saying this violated Section 44 of the Constitution.

Council sources said the Water Department would be turned into an independent utility with its own board of directors, handpicked by Zanu (PF), and would receive and account for funding from donors such as the Chinese government, among others.

“The exercise is being fast tracked to enable Zanu (PF) to access funds from the utility well ahead of the December Congress,” said a source privy to the developments. The department has turned into a fat cow following agreements signed with Chinese companies to revive Harare's water supply infrastructure.

The Mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni, confirmed receipt of the letter and said if there were genuine and specific anomalies regarding the deployments, council would look into them.

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