Covid-19 hits Harare City Council

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Sindiso Mhlophe
HARARE City Council (HCC) yesterday temporarily closed its Town House, Rowan Martin, Cleveland House and Remembrance Drive offices after some of its employees tested positive for the lethal coronavirus (Covid-19).
This comes as various companies across the country have been forced to shut down or close branches due to the spread of the pandemic.
Acting mayor Enock Mupamawonde said HCC, like other organisations in the city, had not been spared the scourge of Covid-19 as some of its staff members, mostly in the health sector, had contracted the virus.
“We have taken precautionary measures to ensure that our offices and buildings are safe for both our staff and the general public. We are, therefore, temporarily closing the following buildings to allow for fumigation: Town House, Rowan Martin, Cleveland House and Remembrance Drive offices. The offices open for business on Monday, 3 August, 2020.
“We continue mandatory testing of our employees. Prior to this notice we have already been taking preventative action in all our offices as guided by the ministry of Health and Child Care and World Health Organisation to ensure the protection of our staff members and stakeholders,” Mupamawonde said.
He added that all committee and management meetings would be done virtually to minimise human contact and gatherings.
“Some staffers have started working from home while only a few critical personnel would move around workstations as their work cannot be done virtually. These include our health personnel, waste management and water staffers.
“We urge residents and ratepayers to continue paying their municipal bills as a way of empowering council to deal with service delivery and strengthen its fight against Covid-19. To observe social distancing, ratepayers should use our e-paying platforms,” he added.
On Monday, Parliament was forced to suspend its activities as two legislators tested positive to the virus.
Meanwhile, Mupamawonde said council had resolved to suspend housing stands allocations until investigations into alleged corrupt activities were completed.
This comes as several senior council managers and the mayor Hebert Gomba have been arrested on graft-related charges.
“I take this opportunity to re-assure you that council business continues following the arrest of the city’s first citizen, and senior management. Council has since re-organised its departments with the appointment of acting directors in the housing and human capital departments to ensure work progresses undisturbed.
“Scheduled council, committee and management meetings will now be held virtually across the board. The investigations that unearthed irregularities in the management of housing land were instituted internally and as your acting mayor, I re-assure you that the due process with the investigations are continuing.
“Meanwhile, all housing stand allocations are suspended until the automation of the system, which should be completed soon. Council invites IT experts to review and assist in the automation of the housing allocation systems free of charge,” Mupamawonde said.

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