By Tinaani Nyabereka
Residents Associations in Gweru have highlighted that Gweru City Council (GCC)’s ballooning debt has been pinned on failure by the local authority to review the 2021 tarrifs.
This follows the recently published Mayor’s State of City Address which revealed that residents were now owing the local authority ZW$463 million in debts.
Gweru United Progressive Residents and Ratepayers Development Association Trust (GUPRARDA), director, David Chikore told Post On Sunday that without statistics on actual trends, the issue of servicing debts was prone to debate..
“without statistics on actual trend around the issue of residents and their responsiveness to council bills ,we cannot narrow the failure to service debts to one cause as the major cause of the ballooning council debtors book is attributed to council’s rejection on the requests by residents to review tarrifs.
“Residents are labouring under an untenable economic environment, which has been further exacerbated by the bottlenecks resulting from the COVID 19 Pandemic. There are so many ways in which council can reduce the debtors’ book, but they can only achieve this by thinking outside the box instead of acting like victims.
“we know incomes have been eroded but council should reclaim control of the Mtapa vending market where some “warload” are making a killing by charging vendors for use of council space.” he said
He further added that council was suppose to introduce innovative ways of revenue collection.
“council must be innovative and devise ways where their employees go door-to- door collecting debts without harrasing or threatening residents with litigation.” added Chikore.
Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) director, Cornelia Selipiwe said various factors were hindering residents to acknowledge their bills.
“As Residents Association we are always encouraging people to pay their bills. One thing we need to understand is, our residents are largely informal and are experiencing low revenue generation due to the ongoing lockdown
“Another challenge is of estimates ,we have had challenges in the council’s billing system, so it won’t be surprising to discover that the ZW$463 million being claimed could be inflated. we are still engaging council to lower its tarrifs as residents are overburdened.” added Selipiwe.
Meanwhile Gweru mayor Josiah Makombe said he was happy as the billing system had been updated.