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Residents livid with US$1,7m water levy

by Staff reporter
18 Mar 2021 at 05:49hrs | Views
OVER 1 000 Bulawayo residents yesterday petitioned the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to come clean on the US$1,7 million raised from a water levy development initiative.

The residents suspect that the money was misappropriated. Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) last week petitioned council to give a breakdown of how the money was used.

The residents handed over a petition demanding transparency and accountability for the funds.

The petition, signed by 1 192 residents, was directed to mayor Solomon Mguni, the finance and development committee, and the future water supplies and water action committee, as well as councillors.

Residents demanded a response to their petition by tomorrow.

"If we do not get the response by March 19 we will be left with no option but to explore further robust means within the confines of our constitutional rights to ask for this information.

"We, the undersigned, are Bulawayo residents who are 18 years old and above and contributed to the Bulawayo pipeline levy that BCC began billing us sometime in 2009.

"We are now concerned with the council's failure to be transparent and accountable on how pipe-
line funds were used."

The residents said they understood that BCC wrote to the MIHR on February 10 saying the US$6 911 115,26 pipeline levy collected between 2009 and June 2018 was used at Epping Forest.

"By signing this petition, we demand the BCC to respect the Constitution of Zimbabwe's provisions on access to information, transparency and accountability and respect us the ratepayers who contributed that money and explain the US$1 722 557, 68 shortfall that is coming out from your February 10 response and the June 19, 2020 information as explained, and publicly avail all proof of payments made to Epping Forest from the pipeline levy funds.

"The availing of information is important for accountability and for protecting and promoting our right to water."

Mguni said: "I have not yet seen it, but if it (petition) has come it would mean that it goes through the town clerk before it is debated in council," he said.

Most signatures were from residents of Mpopoma, Sizinda, Tshabalala, Iminyela, Nketa, Luveve, Gwabalanda, Emakhandeni, Hillside, Tshabalala Extension, Njube, Killarney, Pumula East, Pumula North, Pelandaba, Makokoba, Cowdray Park, Matshobana and Mabuthweni.

Source - newsday

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