The Harare Metropolitan province has partnered the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) to collect waste on behalf of the Harare City Council (HCC), accusing HCC of incompetence in the management of waste in the capital.
Harare Metropolitan Provincial Affairs and Devolution secretary Tafadzwa Muguti made the announcement yesterday at an inter-ministerial committee meeting on waste management and wetland preservation held in the capital.
Muguti said Ema would bill Harare for collecting the waste.
“We have an inter-ministerial meeting to deal with waste management. All corporates not managing their waste well are going to be ticketed, we are looking at as high as level five which is $500 000 or imprisonment if people fail,” Muguti said.
“Ema under the law is allowed to contract private contractors who can actually go and remove waste, the particular environment is the City of Harare where there has been a lot of incompetence and a lot of dragging of feet when it comes to the issue of environmental management.
“We encourage Ema to go to the specific arrears where there is perennial dumping. Once they remove those dumpsites they are allowed to garnish their (HCC) accounts and to recover their funds. That is the last resort.”
He said block ticketing would be introduced in the capital because communities were deliberately dumping waste.
“So wherever there is a dump, the whole community surrounding the dump will be fined as a block. This enables us to create an environment where the community starts policing and safeguarding its environment from dumpsites,” Muguti said.
He said Ema was allowed to engage private contractors to remove waste, especially at shopping centres.
Muguti said sand poaching was also becoming problematic in Harare, as well as invasion of wetlands and cemeteries.
“So, we have partnered the police to ensure that those people are arrested and fined. We have taken a raft of measures to deal with waste management. We are going to use statutory instruments with the relevant ministry to make sure that every business or public institution is going to manage their waste in terms of colour-coded bins. There is a deliberate approach by local authorities to issue development permits within wetlands,” he added.
Ema environmental management services director Steady Kangata said: “We need to ensure that there is environmental sanity within the country. There are so many environmental crimes that people are committing and we must bring a stop to it so that we protect the environment. This operation is going to leave no stone unturned for those who are invading wetlands and dumping waste, the laws are very clear, we need to ensure that wetlands are well protected.”
Harare mayor Jacob Mafume, however, argued: “Firstly for us to be able to deal with garbage, government needs to give us money to buy equipment. They have not given us our devolution funds, but they have given Geogenix BV US$2 million. They have continued giving them money which could be used to deal with refuse in the city. Where do they think we will get the money to buy equipment when they give money to everybody except council?
“If Ema wants to collect garbage in Harare, it is free to do so. However, we have procurement laws and if it is done following those laws, it will be okay. To commit council to pay entails that a resolution must be passed by relevant council committees. Even I, as the mayor, cannot commit council funds which are governed by procurement regulations and the Auditor-General Act.”