Call to install prepaid water meters to avoid billing boobs

29 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
Call to install prepaid water meters to avoid billing boobs Ward 16 residents want prepaid water meters to evade dubious billing.


Residents of Ward 16 have urged the City of Harare to install prepaid water meters so that ratepayers can buy water according to their consumption needs and do away with dubious billing.

Diana Nherera Suburban Reporter

Speaking at a recent Ward 16 meeting on billing, residents said in the 1980s, council used to send readers to read water meters every month.

“From what I am seeing, I do not foresee council coming to read meters.

“There was once a suggestion to buy water like what we do electricity.

“This will eliminate the issue of meter readers and residents can buy according to their consumption,” said one resident.

Ward 16 Councillor Denford Ngadziore said at one time the prepaid meters were launched in some suburbs such as Sunningdale but he was not sure what became of the scheme.

“I don’t know what happened but I believe it is the solution as residents will not complain that you are billing me for water that we are not receiving.

“So I believe it’s an issue that is supposed to be speeded up,” he said.

The same meeting also heard about the refuse collection problems in Bloomingdale.

Bloomingdale residents said the refuse truck deployed in the suburb is not collecting garbage according to the council schedule. According to the schedule, refuse is supposed to be collected on Tuesdays.

“Why don’t you manage what has been advertised on the refuse schedule so that residents can take out their bins instead of coming on a Sunday?

“And when they come to Bloomingdale, they collect only part of the suburb and leave out other areas,” a Bloomingdale resident told the meeting.

Cllr Ngadziore said council does not have enough refuse compactors to adequately collect waste from suburbs.

He said the city is operating with between 15 to 20 compactors instead of the required 70.

“Things are not well. At one time we had 200 cleaners and if you dropped bread, you could pick it up. But right now, it’s a mess.

“We made a resolution in 2023 and we recruited around 200 more cleaners for the city who would work on a shift basis. Some would start at 6 am up to 2 pm while others started at 2 pm into the evening. And when people finish work, thousands of people (vendors and traders) come into town at 6 pm until the next morning,” said Cllr Ngadziore.

He said in the past there was order on street pavements but that was no longer the case because of vending.

“Long back when you were along Nelson Mandela Avenue, you would be able to see people walking in an orderly manner but currently in one street, you will see 20 000 people, some selling gizzards on a gas stove. And council is spending money every day for fuel for enforcement. We may need more than US$3 000 for enforcement (of by-laws) to deal with vendors. But here is the danger, even if council enforces, you will see the vendors returning. So keeping Harare clean is determined by formal employment.

“Even those who are formally employed have side businesses. Some, after finishing work, they will be vending. And all those people are violating council by-laws. But we can’t do anything because there are now many costs involved.”

Cllr Ngadziore said illegal activities such as tuckshops and vending were rare in the past.

“Some of you, the house you stay in now has four tenants. Some in the main house and others in the cottage. It’s a sign that you want extra money.

“Where we are supposed to collect refuse once a week, the compactor gets full midway.

“So there’s need for an overall plan to deal with refuse collection but we will try our best,” he said.

The meeting also heard about the redevelopment taking place in the city where property owners with houses on big stands are demolishing the old houses to build cluster houses putting pressure on existing infrastructure and services.

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