Harare waste management to be privatized, Cabinet announces


HARARE—Harare City waste management is set for privatization after the government approved the plan on Tuesday, aiming to address the city’s chronic waste disposal issues.

Image: The Sunday Mail

Harare has struggled, perennially so, to effectively manage waste, leading to mountains of uncollected garbage and streams of effluent in the Central Business District (CBD), industrial, and residential areas. 

These problems have caused outbreaks of waterborne diseases, including dysentery, diarrhea, and cholera, which have resulted in numerous fatalities.

Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr. Jenfan Muswere, during a post-Cabinet media briefing, said the Cabinet approved an update on the Proposed Privatization of Harare Waste Management presented by the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Daniel Garwe.

“In terms of the 2nd and 3rd schedules of the Urban Councils Act, Harare City Council is obliged to remove and treat effluent, refuse, and human waste within the council area. Despite levying and collecting rates for waste management and having adequate legislative provisions, the Harare City Council has continuously failed to provide functional systems for solid waste management,” Muswere stated.

He pointed to the heaps of uncollected garbage and illegal dumpsites throughout the city as evidence of this failure. 

The Harare City Council formally requested the Central Government to take over solid waste management, citing their inability to fulfill the mandate.

“The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works is now working on establishing functional systems, companies, and institutions to collect refuse,” Muswere added.

Last year in August, President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared a state of disaster in Harare province due to the "deplorable" state of cleanliness in the capital city.

According to a government gazette titled State of Disaster: Emergency Solid Waste Management, the capital Harare is “littered with waste dumps, accumulating in business and residential areas, and open burning of garbage and indiscriminate illegal dumping of solid waste and littering.”

“The local authorities in the province are unable to manage the waste due, among other reasons, to their failure to invest in waste management infrastructure and the related equipment and human resources and to their inefficient collection practices and lack of environmental control systems,” the gazette read.

In 2022, Harare residents filed an application at the High Court seeking an order to compel the city and the local government and public works department to collect refuse and clear all dumpsites that have accumulated in the capital.

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