Harare City Council (HCC) workers, not paid since November 2020, have requested government assistance in their plight.

In a joint letter written by the Harare Municipal Workers Union (HMWU), Zimbabwe Urban Councils Workers Union (ZUCWU) and Zimbabwe Allied Municipalities Workers Union, the workers appealed for urgent mediation.

Through their representative, Cosmas Bungu, the workers say the “dysfunctional and collapsing city of Harare….. no longer respects the employees right to fair labour standards of remuneration, health and wellness, accommodation, social justice and democracy at workplace”.

“We are writing this letter with a heavy heart over the events in the City of Harare.

“As the employees of council, we are now stuck between a hard place and a hard rock”.

“Workers have not been paid their 2020 November bonuses and December salaries.

Bungu added that most employees of the city were part of the essential services as declared by the Government in the Covid-19 regulations, but have not been properly equipped.

“Employees have not been getting personal protective equipment and employees are now compounded with these challenges.

“Employees are now exposed to Covid-19 while on the other hand, they have not been paid their 2020 bonus salaries,” he said.

Bungu said this is in contravention of the Constitution, which states that every person has a right to fair and safe labour practices and standard.

Harare has been facing massive financial challenges that have been worsened by politics playing out at Town House.

Currently it has various management posts being held by acting personal following massive arrests of workers involved in corruption cases.

Various Councilors, including the Mayor Jacob Mafume also have pending court cases whilst others have been recalled.

Meanwhile, Council has pleaded with residents to bear with the city over uncollected refuse for nearly two months in suburbs such as Westlea, Warren Park and Kuwadzana saying it could not deliver the service because of fuel shortages and the absence of Town Clerk.

Harare Acting Mayor Stewart Mutizwa told a full council meeting in December that his environment committee was delighted that $60 000 worth of fuel had been allocated for refuse collection, a service some residents say did not receive for two months.

Some residents around Harare have endured nearly two months with uncollected refuse at their homes with some opting to dump at undesignated areas.

Residents called Council to order saying staying with refuse at their homes for longer periods is not desirable, especially at a time when high standards of hygiene are expected to be met in the wake of the deadly pandemic the Covid-19.

In a telephone interview with Open Council Harare this week, Mutizwa who did not decline that at least $60 000 was secured for refuse collection, pleaded with residents to bear with the city fathers as delays to collect refuse were caused by the absence of Town Clerk and fuel shortages.

“The RTGS$60 000 worth of fuel was not much, especially when it is the local currency.

“Refuse collection has been a challenge since Christmas holiday. We had serious challenges, especially at the dumpsite which had been blocked by refuse,” Mutizwa said.

“Fuel was also not available. But we have since received 11 000 litres last week and therefore residents should expect change going forward as far as refuse collection is concerned.”

Mutizwa said the council was now banking on Dr Prosper Chonzi who was appointed Town Clerk this week on acting capacity.

“We had no Town Clerk for the rest of January. Now we have Dr Chonzi as acting Town Clerk. Some of the matters were not taking place simply because there was no Town Clerk.”

Strangely, Dr Chonzi has since refused the position.

HCC also said its trucks dedicated for refuse collection has been increased from 11 to 18.

Mutizwa said the increase in the number of trucks for refuse collection will improve service delivery.

HCC has had no Town Clerk since late last year after Engineer Hosiah Chisango was suspended from Council over the allegation of abuse of office.

Chisango was arrested last year and was later released on bail.

-Open Council Harare