Marondera residents to confront ZESA, Council

The Marondera Combined Residents Association has mobilised residents for a showdown with the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority and the local authority amid allegations of unfair billing.

Chairperson of Comara, David Chimuzinga, told residents at Cherutombo Shopping Centre that talks with the service providers had failed and there was need for legal confrontation.

“Since last year we have been engaging Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo’s office and our local Council for amicable solutions to our plight as robbed rate payers, but nothing fruitful came out of the initiative.

‘‘We continue to be levied heavily by both Zesa and Council despite receiving no services at all. We should chart the way forward regarding bringing the day light robbery to an end now,” said Chimuzinga.

Some residents said they were worried by billing estimates that Zesa was using, despite the absence of power since January. Council was also accused of demanding monthly payments from households which did not have water supplies since last year.

Residents concurred that though the country was struggling to provide adequate power supplies to people, load shedding by Zesa in Marondera was unbearable and too prolonged compared to other towns.

In most of the cases, power is only available after midnight when people are in bed. Residents complained that children were finding it difficult to do their homework.

“Given the similarities in our grievances, we will petition the Energy Minister, his Permanent Secretary and the Provincial Zesa Manager for an urgent address of our concerns. We will also urgently notify the police about our intention to hold peaceful demonstrations against Zesa and Council,’’ Chimuzanga said.

He accused Council management of awarding itself hefty salaries and perks.

Meanwhile, Zesa has supplied the local authority with a bill of quantity for the provision of a $181 000 dedicated power supply at the council water works to avoid load shedding.

Council recently applied for three dedicated lines to service the water works and two water supply dams, Rufaro and Nyakambiri.

‘‘As council, we would like a situation whereby all our water supplies and the water works have the dedicated power supply facility. This would enable us to provide residents with tap water around the clock,’’ added the Mayor.

He said council would soon seek an explanation regarding the Zesa fixed billing regime for residential properties and public tower lights, despite the high frequency of power cuts.

He dismissed media reports that Marondera was receiving uninterrupted power supplies, adding that it was their obligation ‘‘as City Fathers to protect the interests of residents in face of such challenges’’.

Ward 8 councillor, Carlos Mudzongo, said councillors were under pressure from ratepayers to explain the fixed billing system and estimated monthly bills, despite the poor supply of power to households.

“Residents want a justification of the confusing and frustrating Zesa billing system. As City Fathers, there is no way we would fold our hands while residents cry foul over unexplained billing systems,’’ he said.

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