IT IS quite disappointing that some principal officers in local authorities are busy buying flamboyant vehicles at the expense of local community services, says the Zambia United Local Authorities Workers Union president Kingsley Zulu.
Zulu says some principle managers in local authorities are more concerned in luxury lifestyles than service delivery.
Speaking at a press briefing in Ndola yesterday, Zulu said the Ministry of Local Government should start serious monitoring of how the local government equalisation fund was been used.
“The union wishes to register its disappointment in the manner some principle officers in local authorities are administering their offices of both the membership and the council at large. It is quite disappointing that instead of concentrating on service provision to the residents in local communities, some managers are flamboyantly competing on buying the latest vehicles on the market at the expense of service provision,” Zulu said.
“The 20 per cent component of the local government equalisation fund meant by capital projects has been diverted in most cases to the procurement of these expensive vehicles for personal-to-holder vehicles for luxury purposes, which is unfortunately. These vehicles are purchased at a huge cost which, funds if properly and prudently utilised would improve service provision as opposed to benefiting a few individuals.”
He said the ministry guidelines on purchase of automobiles ware being abused.
Zulu said it was also disappointing that council chairpersons and mayors were abusing their official vehicles.
“While we appreciate and commend the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government [Amos Malupenga] for providing guidelines on the type of vehicles to buy for mayors and principal officers, some managers, with impunity, are deliberately overlooking these well-intended guidelines. Disappointingly so, we have reports of council chairpersons and mayors driving themselves in official vehicles and we would like to appeal to our members to be on the look out for such so that we can deal and arrest this vice,” he said.
“We wish to state that the lavish and flamboyant lifestyles of these managers in local authorities leaves much to be desired. The statutory contributions such as funeral, pension contributions, NAPSA and medical scheme have not been remitted to these respective institutions. This has resulted into our members failing to access funeral and medical schemes. Further we wish to state that the union will not condone abrogation of conditions of service.”
Zulu said the union would expose some managers who were infringing on the rights of the workers.
“The union has made great strides in ensuring timely disbursement of the local government equalisation fund and for that, we want to commend the Minister of Local Government Vincent Mwale and his PS. While the government is addressing this matter, we expect councils to do their part by mobilising local resources to avoid late payments of salaries to the members,” Zulu said.
He said it was shocking that while government had put in place austerity measures, some mangers were busying abusing resources.
“While government has put in austerity measures, some principle officers are gallivanting all-over the country. They have become local tourists and this tendency has resulted in councils being in huge expenses in these trips resulting in delays in provision of services. We demand that councils should set aside resources for salaries. No mayor or council chairperson should drive official vehicles on personal errands, failure to which our members will impound the vehicles. We want the minister to regulate and monitor the trips to save the little resources,” said Zulu.