No to hiked charges

Tenants renting accommodation at Marondera Rural District Council have refused to pay their electricity and water bills.

The living conditions in the compound are deplorable.
The living conditions in the compound are deplorable.

The residents association, led by Taurai Mugauri, on Friday confronted council human resources officer, Magura, who signed the public notice which notified the tenants about the new charges. They told him in no uncertain terms that the 1000 per cent rates hike was unreasonable and beyond the reach of the poor tenants.

“Is it council policy makers who resolved to increase the charges without consulting tenants, or is it a decision taken by management? Whoever made the decision should be informed that no tenant can afford the new charges,” Mugauri told Magura.

Magura indicated that it was his human resources department which had effected the new charges and the position was not negotiable.

Mugauri convened another urgent meeting with representatives of the tenants and advised them not to pay the new charges.

“Magura’s conduct was in conflict with the rural and urban councils Act which stipulates that no council management should implement policies without the approval of a full council meeting. Management is not a policy maker and Magura’s decision on the new electricity and water charges would be null and void,” said a council management member.

Magura’s 1 000 per cent charge hike increased the payments from US$2 for water to US$10 per month per household. In addition to the new charges, each household now has to pay an additional US$7 per room per month. This was despite council providing sub-standard accommodation and poor services to tenants. Most houses at the council compound are dilapidated.

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