THE move by the Greendale Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) to rally residents of Ward 9 to join the association and help improve service delivery in the ward is a commendable effort which needs the support of concerned ratepayers.
Residents’ associations have proved to be a good platform for ratepayers to interact among themselves and also with the City of Harare officials, councillors, Members of Parliament and other key service providers such as power utility Zesa Holdings and the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
An organised voice has more power and can lead to better traction in pushing the service providers to meet their obligations. In the face of the deteriorating service delivery in Harare, it is prudent that residents get organised into associations where issues to do with services, community welfare, safety and security issues are concerned.
A member of the GRRA gave the example of the Borrowdale Ratepayers and Residents Association, which she said was doing a number of programmes to improve service delivery in Ward 18.
The BRRA has long been hailed as an ideal residents’ representative body because of the numerous projects the association has undertaken to help the struggling City of Harare provide services in Ward 18.
Borrowdale residents have resolved to be proactive and take charge of service delivery issues in their ward. They do this by constantly engaging council officials and following up on issues affecting services in the suburbs under Ward 18.
As a result of this approach, the residents have in the recent past scored a number of successes which include road repairs, road markings, repair of Borrowdale Clinic and the Borrowdale District Office.
Two weeks ago, BRRA embarked on a water harvesting project at the district office where it intends to harvest water from the office’s large roof during the rainy season. If successful, the project will ensure water availability at the district office for seven months.
The project is expected to solve water woes at the office where workers have to bring their own water even for toilet use. This is because most parts of Borrowdale have gone for as long as 20 years without council tap water. We urge Greendale residents to emulate their Borrowdale counterparts and they already have a foundation from which to draw inspiration. Recently they funded the revival of Greendale Swimming Pool which has since reopened.
Greendale residents have also been involved in a number of projects such as road repairs in Athlone and security issues through neighbourhood watch committees.
The scope is there for GRRA to grow its membership as some residents have expressed their willingness to join the association.
Across town in Avondale, the Ward 7 Residents Association recently mobilised residents to boycott the City of Harare’s pre-budget consultations because they felt council was not handling the process properly as it deprived residents information and was bent on holding a cosmetic process to appear as if it was fulfilling the Urban Councils Act when it was not.
It is such unity which makes the voice of the ratepayer strong. Other residents’ associations or groups in Bloomingdale in Mabelreign have worked with Zesa to ensure their neighbourhood has electricity while in Mt Pleasant and Vainona residents formed a wetlands management committee to protect wetlands.