Harare residents slam privatisation of services in the capital 

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By Darlington Gatsi

HARARE residents have condemned the government’s plans to privatise services rendered to the city by the municipality saying the move will undermine local governance.

Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) and Harare Residents Trust (HRT) have accused individuals within the city council of pushing the central government to privatise waste management and water supplies.

In a joint statement, CHRA and HRT castigated the government and the city council over the mooted plans.

“The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) and the Harare Residents Trust (HRT) strongly oppose the attempt by the City of Harare and the national government to privatise service delivery in Harare, especially waste management and water supplies.

“This agenda aims to transfer the city’s assets to the elite class. The central government and certain individuals within the Harare City Council are promoting this agenda, which directly undermines local governance. There has been no thorough consultation with the residents and ratepayers, hallmarks of democratic governance.

“We urge the Harare City Council to provide transparent information on this matter, including sharing the decisions supporting the privatization of waste collection and water supply in the city, as well as reports on consultations with residents,” read the statement.

In 2019 the government pushed the city council to enter into a waste management deal with Geo Pomona in a move that received condemnation from the residents.

The proposed deal would have seen Geo Pomona charging US$123 for refuse collection.

However, Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume halted the deal in 2022.

The residents argue that such deals reduce scrutiny of the operations of the municipality.

“The government’s push for Geo-Pomona Waste Management Pvt Limited to take over waste management in Harare without citizens’ input and participation is regressive and raises more questions than solutions to the waste management crisis.

“We completely reject any form of privatisation of municipal services because privatisation has historically failed in providing municipal services and has removed public oversight. This has marginalised residents in the local governance structure.

“Our stance remains that initiatives devoid of residents’ participation will ultimately fail to produce outcomes beneficial to the residents but rather only serve the few elites driving the agenda.

“We condemn the autocratic tendencies and centralisation of decision-making power and call on both the central government and the Harare City Council to respect the people from whom their authority to govern is derived,” read the statement further.