WARD 18 ratepayers owe the City of Harare more than Z$520 million in unpaid rates and service charges although the ward is one of the most active where residents have on several occasions used their own money to help council provide services.
City of Harare figures show that more than Z$520 million is owed by debtors spread across the 15 suburbs in the ward namely Borrowdale (two areas), Brooke Estate, Carrick Creagh, The Foly, Glen Wood, Greystone Park, Glen Lorne, The Grange, Gletwyn, Helensvale, Hogerty Hill, Hunters Hill, Kambanji, Philadelphia (two areas) and Quinnington.
According to the figures provided to residents as part of the ongoing pre-budget consultation meetings, the whole ward owes the municipality a total of Z$521 658 759,03. Residents of Ward 18 participated in the virtual budget meeting held last Friday.
Ward 18 has the potential to generate a total of Z$125 419 578,09 every month but the rate of payment by residents and other ratepayers stood at 26,59 percent between January and June this year. From a total of Z$752 517 468,54 billed by the City of Harare between January and June this year, the city managed to collect a total of Z$230 858 709,51 leaving a deficit of more than Z$520 million. The debt stands at a staggering 73,41 percent.
Borrowdale ranks highly in terms of payments made to the City of Harare as residents from the suburb paid a total of Z$109 927 817,32 between January and June this year. But Borrowdale also happens to have the highest debt at $125 129 595.83.
Glen Lorne with a total of Z$28 723 597,32 had the second highest payments with the Borrowdale Brooke Estate following closely with a total of Z$21 302 346,13 paid by residents of the area.
While the City of Harare has been claiming that it is owed more than Z$10 billion by ratepayers in the capital city, complaints have been raised against the municipality’s billing system as it continues to charge for services not provided such as water and garbage collection.
Ratepayers have also been on record complaining against the failure by the City of Harare to provide bills on time and capture payments made to the local authority because of its perennial shambolic billing.
In Ward 18, ratepayers including residential and businesses have been going out of their way to fund some services following the failure by council to provide the services. In the recent past, Borrowdale residents have helped repair Borrowdale District Office and Borrowdale Clinic.
They have also repaired grass cutting equipment, repaired roads and are in the process of raising about US$15 000 to help council repair refuse collection trucks.
The Borrowdale Ratepayers and Residents Association is fundraising US$15 000 from residents to resuscitate the refuse trucks and improve refuse collection in Wards 18 and 42.
The residents body has initiated a plan to take over the repairing and maintenance of City of Harare refuse trucks on condition the trucks will be dedicated to collecting refuse in the Borrowdale and Hatcliffe (Ward 42) areas before they are deployed elsewhere.
Discussions are currently underway between the BRRA and the City of Harare to craft a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which both parties will sign to pave way for the residents’ body to help the municipality revive the trucks and maintain them thereafter.
In 2019, Borrowdale Brooke residents funded the establishment of a sewer treatment plant in the suburb at cost of slightly more than half a million United States dollars.
The US$660 000 sewer plant was funded under the support of the Borrowdale Brooke Home Owners Association.
The plant treats the sewage and then the resultant “grey water” is used to water the lawns of the golf course located in Borrowdale Brooke. It can treat more than 400 mega litres of waste water a day can and greatly reduces the demand for council tap water and underground water by Borrowdale Brooke residents. The plant also greatly reduces the massive environmental damage caused by raw sewage, which is left to flow into the river system at no cost to council.
The listed examples are some of the numerous projects Ward 18 ratepayers have been undertaking at their own cost to assist council.