Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare is operating with just one substantive departmental director, a development observers say is affecting service delivery.
Six other departments in the local authority are being headed by acting directors. Only the Health Services Director Dr Prosper Chonzi, is substantive. Other directors have pending corruption cases before the courts.
Local government expert and lecturer at the Midlands State University Vincent Chakunda, said this has implications for decision making.
“The major issue that arises from this kind of an arrangement is that the level of commitment of these acting heads of department to their posts is questionable. At the same time, they also cannot make substantive policy decisions because they are in an acting position.
“I think it is one issue that really needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency so that we have people that are substantive heads of departments and people committed to their duties and can make substantive decisions,” he said.
Harare Provincial Development Coordinator, Tafadzwa Muguti, said the local authority could not appoint new substantive officials until pending H.R. investigations on misconduct and court cases have been completed.
Mr Muguti said the acting heads are providing stability at the local authority.
“We cannot appoint sustainable posts or permanent people until we rectify or conclude all the other H.R. matters so hearings have started. There are two sides of this. There are the administrative issues where it is basically labour laws, where we need to find out if there was a misconduct in the City Council code of conduct and if so the people are going to be dismissed, suspended or charged.
There is also the criminal element which is happening within the courts right now and we have to let that be finalized,” he said.
Harare has been experiencing a number of challenges in terms of service provision, particularly clean water, refuse collection and state of roads.
Some residential areas have gone for over 10 years without water supply, while others have to contend with growing heaps of uncollected garbage.