A Harare City councillor, Jacob Mafume (MDC Alliance), has proposed a pay hike for city employees as a way to retain skilled and experienced staff at a time service delivery is at its lowest.

Officiating during a handover ceremony of firefighting equipment donated by Operation Florian, Mafume, who was standing in for the new Harare mayor Herbert Gomba, said council should pay its staff more so that they do not leave the local authority.

“After training these people with such high skills, they are now sought-after because they are good. They leave council for better pastures. This is one area we need to look at,” Mafume said on Monday.

“We need to pay them well, improve the conditions of service for the workers so that we can keep the best.”

Harare council is considered to be one of the highest-paying institutions, with most of its workers earning more than their counterparts in central government, while its wage bill is more than the recommended 70:30 ratio to service delivery.

Mafume told the gathering that the new council would prioritise establishment of new firefighting stations and emergency reaction services within suburbs as a way of alleviating damage to property and lives in cases of accidents and fire outbreaks.

Operation Florian, a United Kingdom-based humanitarian organisation, conducted a training programme for the city’s fire fighters as well as its emergency response team.

“I understand that we need more than 10 sub-stations within our communities so that we could cover the greater Harare when it comes to firefighting and accidents. The sanctity of life and preservation thereof, and that of properties, relies largely on a well-equipped, adequately protected and well-drilled life-saving team,” Mafume said.

“To this end, our partners have donated three fire tenders, two heavy vehicles, personal protective equipment and an array of equipment over the past five years.”

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