Ward 16 residents question currency used for municipal bills

10 May, 2024 - 00:05 0 Views
Ward 16 residents question currency used for municipal bills Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume admits punishing residents who pay by increasing their bills.

Suburban

Diana Nherera Suburban Reporter

Residents of Ward 16 are complaining of high City of Harare bills that they are wondering whether they are being billed in United States dollars or in the newly introduced Zimbabwe Gold Currency (ZiG).

A resident of Tynwald said his bill is too high and he cannot afford to pay it considering the money he earns.

“Is Harare City Council a council for the people?

“May our councilor shed light, are the bills are in USD or ZiG?

“I checked property tax Zone 26 of 297.95, water 277.47.

“We need an explanation sure.

“Who earns such money per month considering most of us earn less than 500 USD? asked the resident.

Residents of the suburb are also contemplating staging a march and delivering a petition over service delivery issues at the City of Harare’s Mabelreign District Office.

A resident who spoke to Suburban said most of the issues under discussion include water, billing and refuse collection.

“Residents are being given estimates and people should not suffer because of some people who are not paying.

“Garbage is not being collected and residents are not receiving water.

“Even boreholes here, people are being made to pay money, there is no justification.

“They are expecting people to pay but there should be order.

“Billing system estimates since 2019 when are they going to reconcile the bills?” said a resident.

Added the Tynwald resident said: “We are willing to build our city but things are not in order. Those involved in corruption should be arrested.”

She said they are not getting any feedback on what is taking place regarding the bills and failure to provide services such as water and refuse collection by the municipality.

“We are trying to build, be positive but there should be feedback,” said the Tynwald resident.

A Marlborough resident said the suburb, for example, does not have water for most of the days yet they were expected to pay for an undelivered service.

“Then a bill comes out and one is required to make a payment when there is no water.

“We should pay for a service where the service is provided.

“Taps have rusty water because there is no water most of the times.

“Money should be used properly and the City of Harare should be audited,” said another Tynwald resident.

The City of Harare has admitted that it charges more the 30 percent of ratepayers who religiously pay their bills to cover for the deficit from defaulters.

Recently Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume told a meeting to discuss the rejection of the city’s budget by Government that the lack of an ERP (enterprise resource planning) billing system in Harare is the major problem for the city.

“An ERP is the system that communicates with an organisation. That is where we are losing money through corruption from our employees as an organisation. We have a challenge,” he said.

Cllr Mafume said 15 council workers from the finance department are currently on suspension.

“The rest have cases at various stages at the courts because we don’t have a coherent ERP.

“And this created loopholes of residents’ money to be stolen,” he said.

Cllr Mafume said; “Secondly you cannot then charge adequately; you cannot set your billing at a proper level. You end up punishing those who pay. You continue to increase your rates. You cannot calculate. You punish those who are paying, you have a budget saying 30 percent will pay, so to cover everything we want (you make them pay more). So it covers faithful ratepayers because you are not following your money. Your bills are not coherent and so forth. So those who are faithful will continue to pay because it’s a very simple equation.”

He said Harare has more than half a million households which are supposed to be paying rates.

“We have 500 000 registered households which ought to pay rates. If we could get about $20 from 80 percent of those we would be able to run this council properly. If we had a billing system that is credible we would have a budget of $20 million. And our expenses, (producing) 400 megalitres (of water) and we can be able to pay our 10 000 employees, do expenses and other things to improve the city. But because we don’t have that system, we are not able to do the funding of the city properly. So that has created a problem.”

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