The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Municipal Reporter
COUNCILLORS, including mayors of various cities across the country have through their umbrella body, the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) demanded an allowance increase of more than 250 percent arguing that their allowances have been eroded by increased cost of living.
The councillors are also demanding a cocktail of perks among them huge discounts of up to 70 percent of stand purchases and duty free cars.
UCAZ president, Gweru Mayor, Councillor Josiah Makombe said the welfare of councillors had to be looked at as their allowances were last reviewed in 2016 hence were no longer in tandem with the economic environment prevailing in the country.
He said they had come up with new proposed figures at a meeting held in Bulawayo during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.
“It is no secret that the welfare of councillors has to be looked at, there is nothing amiss about that. What we have done is just come up with proposed figures which we will table to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for consideration,” said Clr Makombe.
UCAZ reportedly came up with a position paper to be forwarded to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing on 12 April at an Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe consultation meeting on Councillors Conditions of Service in the Bulawayo Council Chamber after a Management, Manpower and Legal Subcommittee meeting which was held the previous day.
According to the position paper, councillors have proposed that for Harare, the Mayor’s allowance be increased from $1 250 to $2 250, Deputy Mayor from $840 to $1 800, committee chairpersons; from $560 to $1 650 while councillors’ perks be raised from $550 to
In Bulawayo, UCAZ proposed that the Mayor gets an allowance of $2 100 up from $1 000, Deputy Mayor; $1 650 up from $660, committee chairpersons; $1 575 up from $450 with councillors receive $1 425 up from $400. In other cities, it was proposed that mayors’ allowances be increased from $840 to $1 950, Deputy Mayor from; $550 to $1 500, committee chairpersons; from $370 to $1 440 and councillors; from $250 to $1 340.
For municipalities, UCAZ proposed that the mayors get; $1 650 up from $600; deputy mayors; $1 425 up from $400, committee chairpersons; $1 275 up from $360 while councillors will get; $1 125 up from $300. UCAZ also proposed that for town councils and local boards the chairpersons must get $1 350 up from $560, deputy chairpersons; $1 275 up from $350, committee chairpersons; $1 125 up from $300 and councillors; $975 up from $250.
For Lupane and Chirundu it was proposed that the chairperson will get; $1 200 up from $350, the deputy chairperson; $1 050 up from $280, committee chairpersons; $900 up from $240 while councillors will get $750 up from $200. For travel and subsistence allowances UCAZ proposed that out of pocket allowance be increased from $10 to $80, breakfast; from $10 to $50, lunch; from $20 to $70 and dinner allowance to be increased from $25 to $70.
“In terms of stands UCAZ proposes that the minister authorises that residential stands should be sold to councillors at 70 percent discount per term. Commercial stands should be sold to councillors at 40 percent discount of the value of such stand and industrial stands should be sold to a sitting councillor at 40 percent of its value. The matter regarding sitting allowances paid to councillors should be provided for in next year’s councils budgets first before payments could be made,” reads part of the position letter.
To add on to these demands UCAZ is also demanding that each councillor should be awarded the right to the importation of a duty free vehicle worth US$10 000 per term of office and that mayors or chairperson should be allowed to drive their official vehicles of which the vehicle be sold to the sitting mayor or chairperson at book value through a resolution of council.
“For accommodation for mayors or chairpersons, UCAZ proposes that councils with mayoral mansions should accommodate the respective mayors while those without, the mayor should be accommodated in a council rented house, in order to dignify the office of the mayor,” reads the position paper.
UCAZ noted that these new allowances should be reviewed on a quarterly basis in line with the economic environment.
Further it was agreed that UCAZ will now come up with a conditions of service document for councillors which all newly elected councillors should sign as opposed to the conditions of service being determined by their parent ministry.