Harare council admits to short-changing ratepayers; looks to initiate change management programmes in 2024

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By Reason Razao | Senior Reporter

The City of Harare (CoH) has acknowledged the administrative division’s struggles with waste management, water shortages, cholera outbreaks, and ageing infrastructure during 2023 saying its trend analysis and performance were not pleasing.

Delivering his New Year’s message Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume emphasized the council’s commitment to progress despite these challenges, highlighting a new transformation initiative aimed at accelerating quality service delivery for everyone.

“Council has had many challenges relating to service delivery, such as serious waste management crisis, water shortages, recurrent Cholera outbreaks, non-functional ERP,” said Mafume.

The mayor also attributed the decay in service delivery to over a 20-year backlog of renewal, and instability caused by developments in the political domain in the country.

“Despite all these challenges we have placed hope, growth and progress at the forefront of our agenda. Serving the citizens remains a profound responsibility that we carry and as such we are not embarrassed to talk about our shortfalls.

“We are also proud to discuss our achievements accomplished in a difficult environment. In all these situations, we choose optimism, we believe that the problems can be solved and that Harare must be functional,” said the Mayor.

Mafume said as part of a turnaround strategy in 2024, the council will be changing some of the ways it conducts business.

“For us to be able to accelerate quality service delivery for everyone we need to change the way we do business. We need to reshape our notions of transformation as change that manifests itself as a collective effort that specifically addresses the structural barriers to profound social change.

“We are very good at planning and we have a five-year strategic plan. We also review performance and develop annual plans every year. From the trend analysis, our performance is not pleasing and this situation requires us to relook at the way we do business and initiate change management programmes,” he added.

The change management and transformation initiatives, according to Mafume, will focus on: “People, processes, and technology. Clear vision and goals. A culture of trust and collaboration. Involvement of both leadership and employees.

“A clear communication strategy. A governance structure to oversee and manage the transformation initiative.”

Mafume said the council had already begun the transformation project in 2023 and intends to continue with the project until service delivery and operational efficiency have been achieved.