WE are deeply disappointed by our leaders’ failure to say the truth regarding the problems local authorities are facing, says Clement Mulenga.
And Mulenga, who is Fire Services Union of Zambia (FSUZ) general secretary, has urged government to surrender Toll Gates and motor vehicle licencing to local authorities, among other services.
In a press statement, Mulenga stated that the union was extremely disappointed by government’s failure to disburse the Local Government Equalisation Fund for four months now.
“This has led to local authorities’ failure to pay salaries. Salary arrears are now ranging from two to six months. Councils are heavily dependent on the equalisation fund because they do not have enough revenue to sustain themselves. We are deeply disappointed at our leaders’ failure to say the truth regarding the problems the local authorities are facing,” Mulenga stated.
He noted that Chipata Mayor was on record blaming the council’s failure to pay workers on overemployment by the Local Government Service Commission, which was baseless, lacking truth.
Mulenga said Chipata council had itself overemployed staff in Division 4.
“The Auditor General’s report is very clear that the Local Government Service Commission has actually under-recruited the staff from 2015-2017. The commission is only responsible for recruiting Division 1-3 who are not bloated at all,” he said.
Mulenga added that the mayor of Chipata was excited to have his municipality declared a city without knowing that this required additional functions and staff.
He indicated that Chipata Fire Brigade had only 43 officers instead of 120.
“Most fire officers in the country are being overworked because of understaffing,” Mulenga stated.
He said the government was dragging its feet to give local authorities their exclusive functions as enshrined in the Constitution such as Toll Gates and motor vehicle licencing.
Mulenga further stated that the union would not keep quiet and watch leaders who are supposed to find lasting solutions to problems being faced by council workers lie about the local authorities plight.
“Last time it was Lusaka mayor Miles Sampa who lied that the council had cleared salary arrears as a result of more revenue from markets and bus stations, when the workers are still in two months salary arrears. This is wickedness,” stated Mulenga.