Harare Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Tafadzwa Muguti has revealed that the Harare City Council has not audited its accounts for four years, a development which has caused lack of transparency and accountability.
Muguti said Council funds have been difficult to track because of this development which has led to the deterioration of service delivery at a rapid rate.
“Our state of service delivery in the province is being affected by several factors. When I came into office, me and my team found out that 4 years worth of accounting records had not been audited for proper funding distribution.
“This led to a problem where funds have only a few people who can testify and witness to what they were used for. One then brings to attention the fact that the board of directors(governance) does not know what the management is doing with their resources (local authority and urban council) furthering the public illusion that local council and authority does not report back to government,” said Muguti.
“Engineer Chisango is working with the new management to catch up with neglected years and put the house in order. Those who have been involved in corruption and other offences are being arrested,” he said.
Muguti said his office has introduced a number of measures to boost service delivery which include the use of performance based contracts for the town clerk and the mayor, with tangible goals and targets for them to reach.
“This gives government a platform to say in the performance contract you signed, you must answer to certain targets you have to reach within a certain time frame. For example, if your infrastructure target is road construction, they should be patched and rehabilitated within 6 months. If you fail to reach it within six months we would like to know why,” he said.
Muguti denied that government is interfering with the work of local authorities. He said the state only chips in to assist them in providing service delivery and accountability
“In essence what we have done as central government is to say what can we do to assist local authorities in making their state of service delivery smoother hence we made interventions based on what the President calls state of emergencies. The introduction of performance contracts is a positive step, as it will make people more accountable for their work. However, it is important to note that these contracts will only be effective if they are properly enforced. The government should also ensure that local authorities have the resources they need to deliver services effectively,” he said.
“Overall, it is clear that Harare City Council needs to do more to improve its transparency and accountability. The government can play a role in this by providing assistance and ensuring that performance contracts are properly enforced. However, it is also important to note that local authorities are ultimately responsible for their own performance,” he added.