LOCAL authorities are facing a myriad of challenges that have greatly affected service delivery. This has resulted in poor service delivery as evidenced by dilapidated road networks, shortage of water and burst sewerage lines among others.
Each time residents question the status quo they are told that there is no funding and the case rests there. However, apart from funding bottlenecks, there are other factors at play that have resulted in service delivery decay. There are some to do with administration hiccups and corruption that have taken our councils down.
Elsewhere in this issue we carry a refreshing story in which Africa University has partnered with three local authorities in Manicaland in a bid to improve service delivery. AU is an international institution that has churned out renowned personalities who have gone out there and changed the world in respective fields of work they specialise in.
We are confident that the co-operation that is being nurtured between the university and Mutare, Rusape and Chipinge councils will bring about positive results. There are competent administrators in these three local authorities and we believe that if the university does research and equip these people with relevant information as well as impact more knowledge to them, our councils will be run better. We are told that the university has a pool of specialists who can help councils in strategising in areas to do with civil works, public administration, water management and a host of other fields.
AU Vice Chancellor Professor Munashe Furusa was spot on when he said his university was duty bound to partner with the councils and share ideas and embark on projects that improve the lives of residents.
“The responsibility of AU at the moment is to facilitate conversation that will provide us with an understanding of what is needed to transform our councils so that they can serve our communities well.
“We have identified projects, the most urgent projects that are needed to transform these urban councils. The councils are very forthcoming and showing a lot of commitment,” he said.
Currently, most councils are failing to employ the right people to carry out some duties because of poor remuneration. This has resulted in some portfolios being manned by unqualified people on an acting basis, resulting in poor performance. With AU coming on board, expert advice will be communicated to the councils thereby improving service delivery.
We urge those involved in this new taskforce to do whatever they are embarking on seriously because people want their lives changed through the provision of quality service. Some of the problems we are facing are due to corruption, incompetence and poor planning. If these issues are rectified and new systems put in place, we believe that our local authorities will tick again.
Council officials are making the headlines for the wrong reasons and a culture re-orientation is necessary so that we mould responsible city fathers who can lead communities well. As that happens, we believe that the taskforce must open up and communicate frequently with members of the public and report periodically on what they will have achieved and the problems they are facing.