… ‘debt a setback for optimum service delivery’
City of Mutare has attributed the deterioration of service delivery to unpaid debts which have ballooned to $400 million.
TellZim organized a feedback and engagement meeting between city officials and residents yesterday, April 09, and it was heard that residents owed council enormous amounts of money.
Speaking at the event, Mutare Mayor Blessing Tandi said the situation was a setback which militated against efforts to provide optimum services to all residents.
He said the local authority failed to provide adequate services because residents were failing to pay their bills in full and in time.
“The council is failing to provide adequate services because the residents are failing to pay their bills and they owe us up to $400 million. Residents should assist council to do its job by paying their bills in order to get better services,” said Tandi.
He said the debt was the reason why the city did not have a grader and other road-making equipment, and was also the reason why the city could not maintain sweet lights and could not pump water to Dangamvura.
The mayor also revealed that the recent rate hike was necessitated by the need to improve revenue, and not to make profit as local authorities are nonprofit-making organizations that survive on what residents pay to it for services.
“The hike in rates is because the council is trying to raise money to improve service delivery and not to make a profit from the residents. Council survives solely on money paid by the residents,” said Tandi.
He said council could barely afford to maintain infrastructure such as roads, sewerage, and water pipes that often burst across the city.
“As council, we are failing to maintain the roads, sewerage and the some pipes that burst. As things stand, we also do not have adequate capacity to provide all the water that is needed in such residential areas as Dangamvura,” said Tandi.
Some residents, however, said council should not continue making life harder for residents, but should rather find ways to force Zinara to fund the maintenance of some council roads as it was making enormous amounts of money at the tollgates and in vehicle licensing fees.