500 laid off at Blantyre City Council: Malawi commercial city streets to stink

Financial destitution has hit hard Malawi’s Blantyre City Council (BCC) forcing it to let off over 500 temporary workers, Nyasa Times can reveal.

Officials have confirmed the council is undergoing perhaps the worst ever economic constraints that has forced it to operate on deficit.

On Friday, a source in the human resources department confided in Nyasa Times the temporary workers, mostly from the department of parks, were shown the exit door at the end of last month.

“Their contracts expired last month-end and in normal circumstances they were supposed to be renewed because BCC engages temporary workers year in year out but it has failed to do so due to financial obstacles,” he said.

Nandolo:  Crisis at BCC
Nandolo: Crisis at BCC

The source further disclosed that with the laying off of the temporary workers, the financially trimmed council would salvage at least K3 million.

The dismissal of the temporary workers has angered most Blantyre residents who fear the development will worsen sanitation within the city.

Majority of those who have been sent packing are street cleaners, garbage collectors and those that slash grass around the city’s various areas, who the residents observed have been doing a commendable job.

“These are the people who have been doing an admirable job, the city was changing its face because of their services and with their firing surely it will start stinking,” Chansi Matambo, a resident of Njamba complained.

Meanwhile, the council has redeployed some members of staff to fill the gaps left behind by the temporary workers.

But the development is reported to have lowered the morale of the employees as many have now been reduced to doing causal work.

Further, the development has forced BCC’s electrical section which falls under the engineering department to discontinue with its electrification project in some parts of the city because of the firing of the temporary workers who had been fixing the poles.

The council is in the process of putting street lights in some roads like Chileka, Kwacha Roundabout to Mt. Pleasant robots through Kudya, Kudya through Zingwangwa to Stella Maris, and the Catholic Institute (CI) to Green Corner.

The 800kg concrete poles, which were already placed along the roads, have since been subjected to vandalism by some crazy people who smash them and remove the steel rods inside.

Their idleness has also led to several motorists getting involved in accidents after hitting the idle concrete poles along the foot paths.

At the moment, the council has maintained about 40 temporary workers within the commerce department to solely distribute city rates bills to the residents.

BCC, which has recently been in the limelight for serious scandals government has just let go because the Chief Executive Officer Ted Nandolo boosts of being  related to President Joyce Banda, employs about 2500 permanent workers.

About 100 employees are on suspensions and about a similar figure resigned last year alone citing poor management of the council.

Due to financial problems, BCC junior employees have been receiving their salaries the other month as the institution has been using overdrafts.

For instance, January salary was paid to them in February, the February wages were paid after March 7 and they received their March pay after April 10.

The council is running on bank drafts and it is failing to pay most of its suppliers and service providers including the tax collecting body, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA).

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