The following is MURRA’s press statement :
There is a threat to the provision of social services in Masvingo since the beginning of a spate of attachments on Council movable properties after the city council of Masvingo lost its case against its workers at the courts of law. Ambulances, garbage compactors, fire brigade vehicles, computers, motor vehicles and other accessories have been attached by the messenger of court and are now awaiting auction. This means that service delivery is going to be negatively affected. Council owes its lower grade workers a staggering USD $ 3, 5 million.
The issue now is, where are the city fathers going to get the money to pay the workers? In the event that they get the money it also means that, according to the court ruling, the workers ‘salaries have to be hiked by more than 160% and the least paid worker will now take home a minimum of 800 USD, which to us is not sustainable considering that the money will come from the residents through the payment of rates .Industry and commerce gurus will agree with us to say the money is just too much considering the prevalent economic environment. The statutory obligation is that 70% of revenue collected should go towards service delivery and 30% towards administration and salaries but in the situation that we are faced with the reverse will be true.
Questions to quickly arise are; will the property raise the required US$3.5 million? What then happens to service delivery when garbage trucks fire trucks and ambulances are sold? And the workers, where will they work? Is selling council property the most plausible solution to this dilemma? What then should we do as residents?, Should we just sit down on our laurels and watch ? What then will happen next?
As MURRA we stand guided by our vision to advocate for world class municipal services and we are committed to effective civic participation by residents in determining efficient and affordable municipal services. Having consulted with residents on this issue, none were pleased on the possibility of having their property sold as it would eliminate the possibility of efficient service delivery
We are reliably informed that the central government, through different government departments, owes Masvingo city council around USD$ 6 million. Wouldn’t it make sense for the central government to pay their debt so that the council may offset its debt instead of transferring the burden to the ordinary residents, most of who earn far below the poverty datum line?
As MURRA we believe that though the courts ruled in favor of the workers, government should intervene to save the people of Masvingo from this looming catastrophe. If the government decides to ignore then it means that service delivery in Masvingo will collapse and this has negative impacts on the lives of the residents of Masvingo and is also a threat to the outbreak of several diseases.
On the 20th of December 2012, we wrote a letter to the police asking for permission to carry out a peaceful demonstration but we were not granted the permission and they strongly warned us against taking such action and threatened to arrest whoever would have taken part in that demonstration. Our purely democratic right to freely express our disgruntlement was thwarted by the powers that be.