Friday, May 14, 2010

(TALKZIMBABWE) City councillors get US$1200 each for entertainment

COMMENT - One reason I turned against the MDC very early on, is that their rhetoric did not match their actual policies. If your only claim to fame is that you are agaisnt something, and then espouse rightwing elitist economic policies like neoliberal economics, yet come out of the trade union movement, that shows you out to be a traitor. Once you are a neoliberal, why would I trust you to be any more frugal or well intended with public monies than the management of ENRON or TYCO? This is the caliber of individuals the MDC has attracted in their 'Mugabe Must Go' campaign. People with absolutely no ideology, except - what's in it for me? We've seen the same with the 'Kaunda Must Go' campaign waged by the MMD in Zambia - what is their ideology? Neoliberalism too - what's in it for me, 'greed is good, greed works' (Gordon Gekko/Michael Douglas in Wall Street), 'there is no such thing as society' (Margaret Thatcher). That is the neoliberal ideology. And I will oppose it whenever it rears it's head.

City councillors get US$1200 each for entertainment
Posted: Friday, May 14, 2010 10:11 am

HARARE city councillors have awarded themselves huge entertainment allowances that will see the mayor getting up to US$1 200 for every seminar and workshop he attends, at a time when the council is failing to provide basic services to residents citing shortage of funds. Reports on Friday say councillors gave themselves the allowances at their last full council meeting in April.

According to a confidential human resources department report dated April 12 seen by state media, the mayor will receive an entertainment allowance of US$1 200 per seminar while his deputy will get US$1 050. Councillors are entitled to US$800 per seminar.

The figures apply to seminars outside Africa and stand regardless of the length of the meeting. Before the resolution, councillors did not get any entertainment allowances for overseas trips.

In addition, the mayor and his deputy will receive out of pocket allowances of US$100 daily while councillors will receive a daily allowance of US$50 for the duration of the seminar.

Previously, councillors were getting US$15 daily while the mayor’s allowance is unchanged.

"Where out of pocket allowance is paid by the sponsor and is less than the rate here, council pays the difference," reads the report.

For regional seminars and conferences, the mayor receives US$800 as entertainment allowance while his deputy gets US$700 and councillors US$500. Councillors previously did not get an entertainment allowance for regional trips. The money excludes transportation, meals and accommodation fees. Councillors attending conferences and seminars within Harare will receive a daily allowance of US$20.

Before this, councillors were getting US$15 for such seminars while the mayor and his deputy were not entitled to anything. The councillors presently get a general monthly allowance of US$120 and US$40 for transport. Councillors are expected to be gainfully employed and not seek to make a living from their public offices.

Allowances for senior managers are not included on the schedule, bolstering accusations from some quarters that management operates a separate and confidential payroll for itself.

"Council approves with immediate effect the review of the rates of subsistence allowances payable to councillors and officials attending workshops, seminars, conferences and similar events on official council business," reads part of the approved minutes.

Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda yesterday justified his entertainment and other allowances saying council had approved them.

"The decision was unanimous. If anybody had views to the contrary, they would have expressed them," Mayor Masunda said.

He added: "I’m driven more by the opportunity to serve and get our city to work properly and less by mercenary considerations."

City workers are up in arms over the allowances, saying they differed greatly from what they received.

The report says: "For attending conferences, seminars and the like within Zimbabwe but outside Harare employees in grades 5 to 16 will receive US$30 daily."

A grade seven employee who spoke to The Herald on condition of anonymity said: "There is no justification for awarding such huge allowances.

"Councillors essentially do not do any work and most of these guys are trying to make a living from ratepayers," she fumed.

Another employee, in grade six, added: "Watch out, soon they will suddenly all be out attending seminars and workshops. The allowances that were there before were already high and now the situation is simply ridiculous."

The contentious allowances come after revelations that management was drawing huge salaries. The city’s gross monthly salary bill is US$6,4 million against revenue of about US$7 million.

This means the bulk of ratepayers’ money is going towards maintaining managers’ lifestyles at the expense of service delivery.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home