Residents refuse to pay rates

Glen View residents and vendors operating at Tagarika Shopping Centre have vowed that they will not pay council rates until there is service delivery from the city fathers.

Budiriro residents should demand service delivery because failure to hold the local authority has seen  them divert council funds towards personal grandisement, said Dread.
Budiriro residents should demand service delivery because failure to hold the local authority has seen them divert council funds towards personal grandisement, said Dread.

The residents, who revealed that the local authority had not responded to calls to remove garbage for over a year, said the uncollected rubbish posed a serious health threat – especially during this rainy season.

Shop owners at the business centre told The Zimbabwean that they had even promised go give the city fathers the fuel for their trucks as a means of ensuring that the garbage was collected, but the local authority was not forthcoming.

Keith Terrence, who runs Knockout butchery, said: “The garbage has not been collected for over a year. It is now breeding ground for maggots and poses a serious health threat.” He said the efforts to assist the local authority with fuel had hit a brick wall since last year.

Efforts to get a comment from the local authority were futile. Residents are also using the dumpsite for ablution purposes. “Due to erratic water supplies, residents are bringing their children here and using the dumpsite as a toilet. It is disgusting especially because just a few metres away is a vegetable market,” said Terrence.

Constance Penduka said vendors at the vegetable market would not pay the monthly rental of $25. “How can they be visible when it comes to rates? They are nowhere to be seen for over a year and that is why the rubbish has piled up. It is like we do not have a council so no-one should be paid anything,” she said.

Ephraim Tazika, a chicken vendor at the centre, said they had tried to clear the garbage but the initiative was not supported by residents. “Residents come and dump their rubbish during the night and argue that they would rather dump them here than keep it at their homes,” he said.

Tatenda Rabsen said it was not fair that the local authority reneged on its core mandate yet ‘top chefs’ at the local authority were awarding themselves hefty salaries. “They have misplaced priorities. Vendors at this business centre will not pay rates. We cannot pay them anything because our money is going to be used for salaries,” he said.

The Education and Publicity Manager of the Environment Management Authority, Steady Kangata, said the organisation would issue a court order to the local authority compelling them to collect the garbage within 24 hours. “We are in the process of doing the legal paperwork so that we serve the authority with the required court order compelling them to action the removal of the garbage,” he said.

He called on citizens to take responsibility over litter and the environment because failure to do that had negative effects on their health. “The environment is everyone’s responsibility and citizens should practice environment friendly habits which protect the environment. The future generation is dependant on us and it is our responsibility to ensure that we create a better world for our children,” he said.

A Budiriro resident only identified as Dread said: “If we do not demand service delivery, they (city fathers) will continue diverting council funds towards their own personal aggrandisement. Residents should action their demands now,” he said, adding that one way of doing this was through boycotting wherever there was no service delivery.

A press statement by the Harare Residents Trust revealed that close to 70 percent of money meant for service delivery is going towards hefty salaries for senior managers in Grade One up to Four, while service delivery continued to deteriorate.

“The service delivery in Harare is such that roads are heavily potholed, water delivery in 60 percent of the suburbs is inconsistent and waste management and general refuse collection is chaotic,” said HRT. The trust recommends that citizens should take a leading role in holding their respective councils accountable and demanding their rights.

“The time has come to facilitate the response of the residents to deal decisively with a management that take residents for granted, hiding behind huge desks and flamboyant behaviour when all around them is collapsing,” said HRT. “We have empowered the citizens, and the citizens know what is right for them.”

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