HIGHLANDS residents have once again questioned why they must continue paying rates and service charges to the City of Harare when the municipality is not providing services and splurging US$2,3 million on funding a football team.
Residents expressed frustration over the fact that they have to beg the municipality to collect their refuse when the council demands payments yet fails to provide services.
The residents said the City of Harare was supposed to collect garbage once every week before introducing the twice a month schedule but they would be lucky to have their garbage collected.
Feeling robbed and neglected by the local authority, the residents have been urging each other to take a stand against such theft.
The residents told Highlands district officer Mr Bruce Savanhu to take note of their complaints because they were fed up of being made to pay for non-existent services. It was unfair for the ratepayers to continuing paying while council employees like Mr Savanhu continued to draw their salaries but doing nothing to service delivery concerns, residents argued.
They pointed out that they have not had council tap water since December 2017 with the municipality pleading lack of resources to fix the water problem but funding a football team Harare City which plays in the country’s top flight league, the Premier Soccer League.
Other residents said they have not had council tap water for the past 12 years and felt compelled to dump their garbage, which has been piling at their homes for the past three months, at Highlands District Office where the City of Harare refuse compactor would pick it from.
It emerged this week that council has recommended a US$2,3 million supplementary budget to bankroll its soccer team, Harare City, further justifying the residents’ questioning of its priorities.
A joint report of council’s Information and Publicity and Finance committees, indicates Harare is mulling a supplementary budget to finance the football team in the second part of the soccer season, which runs from July to December.
The report said council has failed to secure sponsorship for the team hence the need for a supplementary budget, which will be used to pay players, coaches and other members of the technical team such as doctors and fitness trainers.
Some residents also complained that an overhead power line in their area has been blown four times of late as a result of overhanging council trees. The residents approached Mr Savanhu for help and he referred them to a Mr Mhlanga, the tree cutting supervisor at council, who apparently refused to attend the problematic trees.
Residents also questioned why they have to pay rates so that senior council officials and councillors can spend the money attending workshops and events such as the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair while roads in the suburb are potholed. The residents said this could be partly the reason why only 30 percent of Harare ratepayers were paying their rates while 70 percent are defaulting.
Concerns by Highlands residents come in the wake of growing calls among residents in some northern suburbs to stop paying the City of Harare until the municipality provides services to ratepayers.
Campaigns have also been underway to encourage fellow residents to demand that the municipality scraps their refuse collection charges and water charges because the council is failing to provide these services.
In Highlands residents have been dumping their uncollected rubbish at the district office in the suburb arguing that they were paying their bills but the rubbish was not being collected.
The residents, who said they were up to date with their rates and service charges payments, justified their actions saying it was time for the City of Harare officials to do something about service delivery in the capital city.
Those who have engaged private refuse collectors said they wished the private companies could also dump the rubbish at the Highlands district office.