2 800%: Another bad news for suffering residents as council massively hikes rates

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Harare City Council has, with immediate effect, hiked tariffs for basic services by at least 2 800 percent compared to the same period last year.

The city’s acting finance director Mr Stanely Ndemera said the local authority’s proposed $32,7 billion budget was approved without any changes.

According to Harare’s approved financial plan, an average high-density household is now required to pay $1 736 a month for basic services, while a family in the modest Mabelreign middle-density suburb will now be paying $4 558 monthly.

The breakdown is that the first five cubic litres of water for a high-density suburb is now $575 compared to $20 in January 2020, $565 for a once-a-week bin collection up from $28, a sewer charge of $250 for each toilet up from $41 and a minimum property tax of $345 up from $56.

The Malbereign family is paying the low-density tariffs of $765 for five cubic litres of water up from $25, $803 for a weekly bin collection up from $42, and $410 for each toilet up from $91.

The property tax on a Mabelreign house is ranging around $2 580 a month, although this is going to be higher in most low-density suburbs with their larger houses and plots.

The business community has not been spared in the steep hike of fees, with the collection of bins in commercial and industrial areas depending on the frequency per week, daily collection being $2 125, and three-times a week now $1 782.

The cost of hiring an ambulance has risen to $820 from $100 last year but clinic fees remain the same having been shoved up the equivalent of US$5 at the prevailing interbank rate per visit already.

Rented council accommodation has also risen with those in Glen Norah the semi-detached houses now paying $2 800 up from $240 a month, terraced houses in Dzivaresekwa $3 200 up from $300 and four-roomed houses in Kuwadzana being $8 400 up from $500 last year.

Zimbabwe Combined Residents Association (Zicora) president Mr McSteven Nyabvure said the hike was unreasonable.

“Although we strongly feel that rates increment by council in their proposed budget were unjustified, we however welcome the early approval of the residents budget as we gear ourselves into the new year 2021. I am sure that once anti-corruption drive against the local authority has been completed the budget will begin to yield positive results,” he said.

Zimbabwe National Organisation of Associations and Residents Trust head Mr Shalvar Chikomba hoped that Government as the regulator it will see to it that the council delivers.

This budget was too exorbitant and far-fetched to us residents especially that council has failed on service delivery, sewage is everywhere, no running tape water in our homes, no refuse collection, illegal stands allocations, he said.

Combined Harare Residents Association programmes manager Mr Reuben Akili said the local authority needs to address the fundamentals that are discouraging residents to pay their bills.

Harare Residents Trust director Mr Precious Shumba described the early approval of budget as progressive.

— Herald


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