By Star Matsongoni
The Masvingo City Council has literally told residents to co-exist with garbage as it says its refuse collection compactors have been grounded due to the unaffordability of fuel which has now reached souring levels of about $18 per litre against the budgeted $1.50.
In an interview with TellZim News soon after the presentation of the 2020 city budget, Finance Committee chairperson Babylon Beta said the city council is no longer able to buy fuel because it has gone beyond their reach.
He said the council had a budgeted allocation of $1.50 per litre of fuel but the current prices have made it difficult for the council to operate.
“We know the situation is critical because we are unable to collect refuse in most residential areas. Many areas have gone for close to a month without having their refuse collected and this is because we cannot afford to new fuel prices.
“The little fuel we are able to get we prioritise the city centre. The council is in the process of acquiring two more refuse compactors because the existing ones have seen better days and are always breaking down,” said Beta.
Beta said they tried to address the fuel challenges in the supplementary budget but it was only approved in October so the tariff changes will only take effect starting November.
“The supplementary budget was going to address all the challenges which the council is facing at the moment because there were some tariff adjustments but it took time to be approved. Now that it has been improved, the changes will start taking effect in November,” said Beta.
Residents have since threatened to take their bins to the council offices and dump them there as a way of protesting against the collapsing service delivery.
Some people have already started emptying their bins on open spaces creating another crisis which would need the council to intervene.