Mutare residents pin hopes on the new council budget

Residents in Mutare who have endured years of dry taps and poor service are now pinning their hopes on the 2014 council budget. The city council last week completed consultations for the 2014 budget amid calls to improve services. Residents attended the consultations in various wards in the city.

Years of no water have left Titus Magenje at the end of his tether.
Years of no water have left Titus Magenje at the end of his tether.

Titus Mangenje from Dangamvura said: “We have had years of no water at all. We hope that this budget will help to solve the water problems that have been affecting this suburb. Water reticulation has been a major problem.”

Susan Nzarayebani from Chikanga added: “We are now living as if in the rural areas. We do our laundry at a water point far away and we fetch water to drink from the same area, which is not healthy at all,” she said.

There is a poor road network in most of the suburbs and the residents have called on the council to repair the roads.

“I am a motorist. I drive every day to and from my workplace and the roads are almost impassable. There are a lot of potholes and the Hobhouse-to-Chikanga city road should be tarred because it is a main road that links us to town,” said Nathan Waiziweyi of Hobhouse.

“We still have a massive shortage of water. Our polyclinics don’t have drugs and other essentials and there is no feedback on the audit of the council’s books while workers have gone for several months without salaries. I hope the new budget will try to address such issues,” said Tapiwa Zimunya from Sakubva.

However, city mayor Tatenda Nhamarare said the response to the budget was impressive, adding that there would be no increase in the rates.

“We were given excellent ideas by the residents, which we can use to resolve our problems,” said Nhamarare. “They talked about our revenue collection, expenditure and issues on service delivery among other things.” The city’s acting health director, Simon Mashababe, told The Zimbabwean that the city had a critical shortage of refuse collection trucks.

“In the area of environmental health, we are trying as much as we can to remove refuse. We are supposed to have 10 refuse trucks to do that job but out of that number we have just three,” he said.

He said there was hope for the future as the council had taken note of the situation.

“In our quest to remove refuse we will have to use the available trucks. Instead of starting at 8am, workers will be at work at 4am or 5.30 am. Very unfortunately the vehicle’s lifespan will be short, but we are hoping that new refuse trucks will be available next year,” Mashababe added.

City engineer Donald Nyatoti said the city’s poor water situation was exacerbated by continuous pipe bursts.

“There is need to replace the old pipes with new ones because the current ones were laid long back. Due to pressure, the pipes are bursting,” said Nyatoti.

He said the city needs about $800,000 to complete the much awaited water project which he said was almost 90 per cent complete.

“We hope that our budget will channel more funds into repairs and purchasing of new pipes,” he added.

Mutare City Council also pins hopes on German ambassador Ulrich Klöckner, who has promised to work closely with the city and identify critical areas where Germany can intervene.

Klöckner was in Mutare recently and toured various council projects, He expressed a desire to work with the council to improve service delivery.

Last year, the city presented a budget of about $20m, but as of September had collected only $10.8m.

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