The Zimbabwe National Organisation of Associations and Residents Trusts (ZNOART) has criticised the decision by local authorities to hike rates saying the increment was ill-timed. We present ZNOART’s statement below.
ZNOART PRESS STATEMENT ON EXORBITANT RATES
EXORBITANT RATES ZERO SERVICE DELIVERY
In an unexpected move by local authorities that has shocked residents across the country in the middle of poor or non-existent service delivery, there is a huge outcry and a call for these authorities to justify these sharp and exorbitant increases in rates and other utilities.
Zimbabwe National Organisation of Associations and Residents Trusts ZNOART are keen to hear from all local authorities concerned why they have been such an upsurge without taking into consideration their reciprocation of services commensurate with the new bills.
Nearly all urban authorities have huge shortfalls in providing safe and portable water, refuse collection, emergency services, health facilities and general welfare of residents.
These increases have been coming over the years and no improvement has been observed in fact there is rapid deterioration and service provision and unprecedented dilapidation of infrastructures such as roads, lighting and recreational facilities.
Although we are totally against these exorbitant charges residents have also lost confidence in how this revenue is put to use if they decide to pay.
As residents we are calling upon the responsible ministry to rise to the occasion and come to our rescue by rendering definitive intervention, we regard this move by local authorities as an unnecessary bull rush intended to fleece the ordinary ratepayer of their hard-earned resources.
We understand that it is our responsibility to pay for service rendered but we feel that the bills should be confined to reasonable and affordable parameters failing which the vicious circle of non-compliance by residents and the incapacitation of service providers will continue.
We also feel that this move was ill-timed as the ordinary residents are still suffering from the effects of the COVID pandemic related lockdown which implied the limitation of earnings in most households.
Given the prevailing situation of allegations and pending court cases relating to corruption and abuse of office by a number of senior officers in urban councils, residents find it hard to digest the justification of these high figures as sentiments are pointing towards the fact that council officials will continue to fatten their own pockets at the expense of service delivery.
It is better to institute affordable rates which will translate into a higher rate of compliance from residents than to bill residents with figures outside of their reach.
We implore local authorities to be responsive to the outcries of their residents and consider revisiting their decisions and reduce these tariffs in a manner consistent with the prevailing economic conditions.
ZNOART National chairman
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