Ward 41 demands scrapping of refuse collection charges

13 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
Ward 41 demands scrapping of refuse collection charges One of the new refuse trucks bought by council.

Suburban

WARD 41 residents are mulling petitioning the City of Harare to be exempted from paying refuse collection charges since they are hiring private garbage collectors to fill in the gap left by the struggling municipality.

Peter Tanyanyiwa Suburban Reporter

In discussions on their residents’ online platforms, ratepayers from Ward 41 which covers Marlborough, Emerald Hill, Avonlea, Ashbrittle, Bluff Hill, Westgate, Good Hope, Adylin, Willow Creek and parts of Tynwald, said a way had to found to compensate them because some of them were now relying on private refuse collectors while at the same time paying refuse collection charges to the municipality.

Ward 41 Councillor Kudzai Kadzombe said residents had a right to fight for their rights and should do everything in their power to have their voices heard.

In an interview with Suburban, Councillor Kadzombe said the residents could write individual petitions asking for refunds on bills they paid for non-delivered services.

She cited the example of Sentosa residents who a few years ago demanded to have water charges scrapped from their bills because they had gone for several years without receiving council tap water. 

 “Refuse collection in the recent past has been a big challenge as council had five refuse collection trucks but residents were still expected to pay their full monthly bill. So they are right if they want to petition council when they are paying for a service but not getting it. What I would advise residents is that when they are doing petitions, they should do separate petitions as individuals because if they do one petition even with 30 000 signatures it will still be regarded as one petition. Individual property owners should do different petitions and their concerns will be addressed,” she said.

Cllr Kadzombe said it was encouraging that residents were making efforts to demand what is rightfully due to them.

“This is good when residents take a stand and demand their voice to be heard as we have seen in the recent past council issuing final demands/ summons where there is a possibility that they may lose their property, yet they say they are not getting services. So residents can ask for a discount on their bills considering that they won’t be getting services. We have seen this happening in the case of Sentosa. Sentosa was not getting services and they individually petitioned council and they got some figures removed from their bills. Residents can learn from that. Sentosa hadn’t had water for 10 years and they demanded their rates to be cleared through their former councillor and their voices were heard,” said Cllr Kadzombe.

Last week, council announced it had bought 10 new refuse compactors and took delivery of six while the other four and 10 tippers were on their way. 

So dire is the situation in Harare, some councillors such as Councillor Scott Sakupwanya of ZANU PF (Ward 21 Mabvuku and Tafara) have bought refuse trucks to service their areas.

A few years ago, Sentosa residents sought refunds from the municipality for the water bills they were paying for several years without receiving water.

The residents requested the water rebates from the City of Harare following similar moves initiated by residents of some northern suburbs who received refunds from the municipality.

Sentosa residents said they felt left out because they were also not receiving council tap water for years but never received any refunds.  

In March 2019, the City of Harare undertook to refund $309 to each Sentosa household to compensate for the water charges the residents were being billed even when the suburb had not received water supplies for more than 15 years. 

The move followed complaints by residents to council officials at a meeting held at Town House to discuss the water crisis in Sentosa. 

 “The total amount is $309 per household and the period covered is June 2013 to 31 March 2016. I anticipate when you receive your next bill which is coming next month it will show. It does not take us even a week to adjust,” Mr Luke Maziya said from the council finance department.

Some Borrowdale and Hatcliffe residents received the rebates in September 2017 as confirmed by former Ward 18 Councillor Mr Allan Markham.

“Since the beginning of my term as Councillor for Ward 18, we have been battling the issue of fixed water charges, (with the Borrowdale Ratepayers and Residents Association). As both areas (Borrowdale and Hatcliffe) were not on the pumping list, we agreed and passed a resolution at a special council meeting for the 2015 budget year, that Harare City Council would reimburse us the fixed water charges. Mabvuku and Tafara were also identified and covered in the same resolution. Nearly three years later, the rebates are displayed on this month’s rate bill, $309 for Borrowdale. And about $138 for Hatcliffe. 

“This explains the rebate on most bills.

“However, some Borrowdale areas have not had this, please inbox me if you have no rebate, except the Brooke, (of which I am aware). Hatcliffe we wait in anticipation,” Mr Markham said in 2017. 

The total amount refunded to Borrowdale residents at the rate of $309 was $5 million and Hatcliffe was $1 million. .

“While this issue is far from complete, it is a start,” Mr Markham said then.

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