Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Town Clerk says water disconnections legit

by Staff reporter
28 Aug 2019 at 07:35hrs | Views
BULAWAYO Deputy Mayor, Councillor Tinashe Kambarami, has once again clashed with the Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube after announcing over the weekend that council should not cut water supplies to defaulting residents.

On Friday, Mr Dube said in a statement that the BCC would disconnect water supplies to residents who owe council in a bid to recover more than $180 million consumers owe to the local authority. He released a schedule detailing the timetable and the suburbs to be covered.

It emerged yesterday that the Town Clerk was acting on a resolution by councillors that included the deputy Mayor to force owing ratepayers to service their accounts through water cuts.  

Bulawayo Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni, yesterday confirmed the resolution and said it was a reaffirmation of the city's by-laws.  

Clr Kambarami was quoted the Sunday News, castigating city fathers for resorting to water disconnections. He said councillors were already engaging the city's management with the hope of halting the disconnections, noting that there was a need for the local authority to resort to other means of debt recovery outside the disconnections.

"This is something that we already spoke about as councillors during our supplementary budget presentation where we said there was an urgent need to identify new revenue streams.  

"Actually we identified issues like parking, prepaid water meters and truck stops to mention just a few. Our vision is to copy what was done by the city of Cape Town where residents are paying next to nothing with the municipality there having diversified by identifying revenue streams outside the rates and rentals," said Clr Kambarami. However, the Mayor said there was a council resolution authorising the Town Clerk to announce water cuts.

"Yes, there is a resolution. It must be a June or July resolution that said council could cut off supplies for owing rate-payers. The resolution was actually just a re-affirmation of the by-laws," said Clr Mguni.  

He distanced himself from Clr Kambarami's statement.

"I am now not sure what the deputy mayor meant and in what context he was quoted as I was not there. However, the official position is that rates must be paid. If residents do not pay, service delivery will be compromised and nobody wants that. All residents must pay rates and as a city we understand that people are going through some hardships that is why people must be given notice to look for money," said Clr Mguni.

The Town Clerk yesterday was unfazed by the deputy mayor's utterances and reiterated that water disconnections were there to stay.  

"In terms of council resolutions and by-laws, there are provisions to disconnect water supplies to owing residents. City by-laws allow us to give 24 hours' notice prior to going ahead with water disconnections. The water disconnections are legit. They are backed by a council resolution and city by laws, so by all means, council is going ahead with the disconnections," said Mr Dube.  

Asked about the deputy Mayor's utterances, the Town Clerk said he could not comment on the matter. He said maybe he deputy Mayor had suffered memory loss and forgotten about the resolution.

"It's best that you talk to the Mayor now that he is back. I do not know how the deputy Mayor would think of reversing the water disconnections. Maybe he has forgotten that they are a council resolution," said Mr Dube.

Clr Kambarami yesterday said he could not divulge details of a meeting which he said was yet to take place where he would seek to convince council to discard the water disconnections. Asked about how he was planning to go against a council resolution, the deputy Mayor said he did not remember whether there was a council resolution of that nature in the first place.

"I'm not sure if there is such a resolution. Perhaps I was not there when they resolved. Probably they made the resolution in my absence," said Clr Kambarami.

It is not the first time the deputy Mayor has clashed with the town clerk. He attempted to fire Mr Dube last month.  Clr Kambarami and Ward 4 Councillor Silas Chigora violently ejected Mr Dube from his office after he refused to take a letter "suspending" him from duty, triggering an ugly chain of events.

Clr Kambarami, who was the acting Mayor at a time when Clr Mguni was on study leave in South Africa, accompanied by Clr Chigora, shoved Mr Dube after he told them that their actions had no legal force. Clr Mguni rescinded the "suspension" the following day and council ratified his decision.

Source - chronicle