THE Harare Residents Trust has urged residents of the capital city to refuse to have water disconnected because the current exercise to cut off water supplies and force residents to pay outstanding bills is a fundraising initiative to raise money to pay municipal workers end of year bonuses.
In a statement, the residents’ body said council is not being honest in the manner it is handling its billing system since April 2019.
It said time and again ratepayers report faults on the water and sewer systems but council officials at district offices give the excuse that they do not have the tools to attend to the faults leaving residents to go for lengthy periods without water and living in streams of sewage.
“Residents go to the council to make their reports. The council officials at the district offices tell residents that they do not have vehicles and fuel as well as protective clothing. The residents endure lengthy periods without water and in sewerage. Then…. they(council) remember they want bonuses as the year is coming to an end. They go door to door trying to disconnect water to residents.
“They do not have the time to do household water meter readings and charge estimates for water consumption. Residents demand accurate water meter readings, the council complaints that they do not have manpower to do household water meter readings. Clearly, their exercise to visit houses and check the functionality of water meters is not informed by the desire to improve service delivery but merely to fundraise,” said the HRT.
The body urged residents to cooperate with council officials but reprimand them for the collapse in service delivery.
“Refuse to have your water disconnected. Since April 2019, the City of Harare has not had a functional billing system which gives accurate figures. The City of Harare should consistently deliver services before going out for fundraising to raise bonus money for their workers.”
The HRT said should the workers insist on disconnections, residents should not be tempted to bribe them.
“Residents, do not pay bribes to council workers, let them disconnect your water if they come to disconnect. Under the Covid-19 situation, let us see the impact, but let us demand more transparency and accountability! Water is a right. Provide services, stop fundraising programmes at the expense of service delivery!”
Recently the City of Harare indicated that it would begin disconnecting water for residents owing more than ZWL$2 000.
Some residents in Avondale are receiving water bills as high as more than ZWL$23 000 yet they have not used council tap water for close to 20 years.