As last year came to an end something big happened that just came to light. The Minister of Local Government, July Moyo, wrote a letter to the Mayor of Harare Herbet Goba instructing him and his council to shut down the council’s strategic companies.

The affected companies include:

  • City Parking
  • Sunshine Holdings and
  • Harare Quarry

According to the Minister these companies are not bringing real value to the City Council, they are “suspicious” and appear to be mere conduits for siphoning resources.

You are directed to make sure that companies formed as income-generating ventures, which previously had been sources for council revenue, are dissolved and the activities be carried out under the appropriate programmes.

On that note, City Parking, without any investments, had not been bringing in any meaningful revenue to council and Sunshine Holdings seems to be a conduit to siphon out council resources. Furthermore, Harare Quarry (Pvt) Ltd demands payment upfront for material ordered by council, while it is being subsidised for making losses.

Part of the letter

Council must perform these operations as projects

The City Council must now turn these companies into projects and appoint project managers to see these activities. Also it must streamline these activities as they are currently bloated.

A case of hypocrisy

It’s too early to tell whether this is a good thing or not. Right now the Council is really struggling and needs all the money it can get. A better course of action would have been to order council to be more efficient in terms of how these companies are run. Consulting stakeholders is not what the government of Zimbabwe does, we have learnt countless times.

The central government it self is bloated with useless MPs who bring no value whatsoever in Parliament, incompetent Ministers in office who disappear for their entire terms in office and worst of all we have parastatals.

Parastatals are and have always been conduits for siphoning money and resources from the government. Those are costing the country and taxpayer way more money that Council’s operations some of which are at least making a profit.

We are long overdue for a parastatal reform. Again don’t hold your breath, that is never happening.

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