WARD 17 residents are moving closer to forming a residents’ association to represent them and lobby for service delivery in the wake of the continued collapse of services in Harare.
Residents have been invited to a meeting on Saturday next week June 25, 2022 at Kingdom People’s Church at Number 111, The Chase in Mt Pleasant to elect the inaugural leadership of the Mt Pleasant-Vainona-Northwood-Pomona Residents Association.
Flyers being shared on residents’ social media platforms are inviting residents of Mt Pleasant, Vainona, Northwood and Pomona to attend the meeting.
“Notice to residents. The formation of a new residents’ association. Are you a resident in Mt Pleasant, Vainona, Northwood or Pomona? You are invited to join the Mount Pleasant Vainona, Northwood and Pomona Residents Association at their inaugural election. The primary purpose of the standing committee shall be to consider and recommend actions in Ward 17 which covers our areas,” reads the flyer inviting residents to the meeting.
It further states that the functions of the committee will include representing suburbs under Ward 17 on behalf of residents who live in these suburbs as well as other stakeholders in the community.
The invitation says the residents shall form a committee either by volunteering or an election which will then meet and elect a chairperson.
The committee will also formulate and adopt a constitution to guide the operations of the residents’ association.
It will allocate portfolios to committee members and call for the first residents’ meeting both in person and virtually via Zoom.
Ward 17 residents have welcomed the meeting saying it showed there was now progress in establishing the association.
Ward 17 covers Mt Pleasant, Groombridge, Vainona, Pomona, Borrowdale West, Mt Pleasant Heights, Arundel and Northwood.
Of late Ward 17 residents have been pushing the formation of residents’ trust or association to help lobby for service delivery in the ward in the face of lack of services from the terribly struggling City of Harare.
Most residents in Mt Pleasant, Arundel, Northwood, Vainona and parts of Pomona have not been receiving council tap water for more than a decade or close to two decades in some cases. The residents have been bitterly complaining about the City of Harare’s failure to collect refuse yet they pay their dues every month.
Some have resorted to hiring g private companies to collect their garbage in the wake of the failure by council to offer the service.
Residents have also been for calling for decentralisation under which Ward 17 should retain a percentage of the rates and service charges paid by residents for exclusive use in the ward.
A few years ago, the City of Harare introduced the ward retention scheme under which wards were supposed to retain at least 25 percent of the revenue generated in that ward through rates and service charge payments.
The money will be allocated for service delivery and developmental projects in the wards with the residents, councillors and the municipality cooperating on coming up with priority service delivery issues or development projects needing funding. In their discussions, residents believed decentralisation could be the answer to the current service delivery woes.
The residents noted that the centralisation of services had led to the crumbling of services in cities and towns as ratepayers who religiously pay their rates and bills were subsidising the perennial defaulters.
The one city concept had destroyed service delivery in cities and towns, the residents further argued saying each ward should have its own distinct budget.
Since Mt Pleasant residents were already maintaining their own roads without the help of the City of Harare, cleaning up and putting up road signs, residents said they should adopt the Borrowdale Brooke model to deal with service delivery issues. The Borrowdale Brooke Estate manages its own services under the banner of the Borrowdale Brooke Home Owners Association which is part of the bigger Borrowdale Ratepayers and Residents Association (BRRA).
Ward 17 residents have also been inspired by the great work being done by the BRRA and have been studying the association’s constitution to see which clauses they can borrow for the constitution of their own residents’ association.
Recently, the BRRA repaired council refuse trucks which are dedicated to serving suburbs in Ward 18. This followed a memorandum of understanding the BRRA signed with the City of Harare to help revive refuse collection which has virtually collapsed in Harare. The BRRA has also been repairing roads, putting road signs, traffic lights, speed humps and renovating the council clinic in Borrowdale and the Borrowdale council district office.
When finally established, the Vainona-Mt Pleasant-Northwood-Pomona Residents Association will join other residents’ associations in the northern suburbs such as the BRRA, Ward 7 Ratepayers and Residents Association (Avondale), the Greendale Ratepayers and Residents Association, the Highlands Residents Association and Newlands Residents Association under which residents from the respective suburbs have been mobilising each other to lobby for service delivery.