…‘proposed rate hike unjustified’
Some 70 residents on November 20 filed letters of rejection to the 2019 budget proposed by the Masvingo City Council, saying proposals to hike water rates by 66 percent were unjustified.
Masvingo Residents and Ratepayer Association (Murra) helped the residents to file their letters of objection with council as provided for by the Urban Councils Act.
In the budget, council proposes a 66 percent increase in the amount charged for water, meaning that residents in high density suburbs, who are currently paying around 66 cents per cubic metre of water, would be paying around $1.26 for the same amount of water.
Those in low density suburbs are currently paying around 88 cents per cubic metre of water, but they would be paying around $1.54 for the same amount.
Most of the residents rejected the proposed increase on the basis that council was currently not supplying water reliably, and that the economy was too tough to merit a rate hike.
One resident, Sungano Zvarebwanashe said she disagreed with the proposed increase as she already found the current charges exorbitant, adding that council was not doing enough for the rates she is currently paying.
“As a resident of Ward 4, I have gone through the proposed budget of 2019 and I do not agree with the proposed increment as these changes are too exorbitant. I cannot afford them as the economy is not approving and also not getting the good service delivery we are expecting from what we are paying for,” said Zvarebwanashe.
Murra spokesperson, Godfrey Mtimba told TellZim News the organisation was fully supportive of residents’ stance as current water supplies did not correspond with the money being paid by residents.
“As Murra, we stand with residents in rejecting this planned rip-off. It is many weeks now with not even a single drop of water for many residents yet we are being asked to pay more. We are dealing a council that in August and September failed to give residents water for four weeks and now it’s back to the same thing. Why then try to increase rates? Can’t they see many people cannot even afford the current charges,” said Mtimba.
Last week, the Women Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) presented a petition to council officials, saying the current water crisis was a threat to the health, safety and security of women especially.