Home Editors' Pick Outcry over sharp increase in bills

Outcry over sharp increase in bills

by commuadmin

CommuTalk Reporter

GWERU residents have raised concern over sharp increases in their July water bills with increases of up to 1 000 per cent from the previous month.

Bills seen by CommuTalk included one which increased from $ 3 500 to $13 600 from June to July and another from $2 491,33 to $25 404,36 in the same months.

The public has blamed the council for being insincere as they continue piling pressure on already overburdened residents.

Gweru finance committee chairperson Cllr Martin Chivhoko said the council has maintained the value of the budget as of 15 November 2021 when the 2022 budget was submitted to the government.

Chivhoko said the increases were justified bearing in mind that the council was also operating in a hyper-inflationary environment.

“We are facing a lot of challenges as a local authority, fuel is being charged in USD, and a service station which used to give us fuel in RTGS is now demanding USD. Our workers also need to be cushioned, water treatment chemicals are going up on a daily basis,” he said.

The finance chairperson also added that during the USD era, people were paying between US$30 and US$40 which is what they are currently paying if converted.

“If someone pays a monthly bill of ZWL1 500, which is equivalent to two loaves of bread and at the same time expect the council to provide water and refuse collection every week. We thought by rebasing things will improve. We will be able to buy fuel and buy vehicle spare parts in USD.

“We expect our residents to understand that the economic situation is just not favourable. People afford to pay for DSTV at US$40 per month but want to pay US$2 to the council,” added Chivhoko.

Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association director Cornelia Selipiwe said it was wrong for the council to think that they can develop using tariffs.

“Our local authority has to think of other revenue streams. They have a quarry mine but have not utilised it. They let city parking go to City Park. Go Beer Farm just needs employees and inputs because they already have sewerage water but they are not using it. They recently leased out an abattoir, which could have brought money.

“They need to sit down and come up with ways of making money. We have been negotiating with the council not to attach people’s properties because they have been failing to pay what was there. What will make them able to pay these new figures?” Selipiwe questioned.

#Commutalk #Community Talk

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