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Bulawayo residents up in arms with the council

by Staff reporter
15 Mar 2020 at 08:53hrs | Views
Bulawayo residents are also up in arms with the council over the local authority's recent move to effect a 716 percent rates and rental hike, with residents arguing that it violates their basic human rights. This comes amid revelations that a meeting organised by the council in Mpopoma to explain the council's new credit policy was abandoned after the local authority sent a junior official.

The local authority this month started billing residents using their new rates as prescribed by the approved 2020 budget with a survey by this publication revealing that residents are now forking out between $280 and $700 in council rates per month.

In a letter to the Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) secretary for administration Mr Thembelani Dube said the new tariffs left residents exposed to the poverty trap as a huge chunk, if not all their monthly savings would now be directed to paying of council bills.

"The high increase means that residents will be forced to pay more than 50 percent of their earnings towards utility bills which directly violates the economic principles which recommends that utility bills should not cost more than six percent of one's earnings for them to be considered affordable.

"The new rates fall outside what ordinary civil servants earn and what residents are able to generate from informal trading. Residents will not be able to escape the poverty trap given the high cost of rates as they shall be left with no disposable incomes to pay on other needs after paying council," said Mr Dube.

The residents further accused the local authority of ignoring their concerns regarding the budget claiming it was not accurate that residents had endorsed it during outreaches held by council.

"This has been vindicated by the fact that during the consultations on the credit policy, council is sending junior employees who go on their own without anyone recording minutes and residents' views. A meeting was recently aborted in Mpopoma after residents protested the decision by BCC to send a junior council employee with no one to take minutes and record their grievances. Residents felt taken for granted by this gesture," said Mr Dube.

Bulawayo Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni is on record saying it was impossible for the local authority to review downwards its new rates as these had been endorsed by both the residents and the Government. He added that the new rates will enable council to provide services to residents.

Source - sundaymail