Harare Residents Trust (HRT) director, Precious Shumba has said HRT intends to approach the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, July Moyo, to ask him to reconsider the approval of exorbitant rates.
Shumba said the rates being charged by the City of Harare were “unsustainable, unjustified” and further weakened the capacity of the ratepayers to escape socio-economic challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and high unemployment levels. He said:
The HRT intends to escalate the issue to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works who approved the City of Harare rates for his re-consideration of the 2021 budget.
While the Minister approved the city’s 2021 budget on time, the budget is not affordable to most ratepayers.
HRT has since submitted a petition to the local government authority informing the city fathers that the rates were unaffordable hence the need to reconsider them.
Responding to the petition, Acting Mayor Stewart Mutizwa said he was a ‘listening Mayor’ and wanted a sustainable solution to the issues bedevilling the city. Mutizwa said:
I am receiving your petition, I will read through it and will refer it to the responsible offices in our council system.
Ratepayers are an integral part of the city’s development 2 architecture, and their views and submissions will be treated with the utmost respect and consideration.
Cllr Mutizwa also appealed to residents to pay their bills on time saying the biggest obstacles to smooth service delivery were failed strategic business units.
He said without a government subsidy on most of their services, they were mostly relying on ratepayers.
Rates are used for the provision of services such as water, lighting, sewer reticulation and garbage collection.