Masvingo residents reject proposed 200 percent rate hike

By Clayton Shereni

Efforts by Masvingo City fathers to increase rates by over 200 percent have received a major setback after residents in the city’s 10 wards largely refused to endorse the plans, TellZim.

The city recently went on ward supplementary budget consultations but residents expressed dissatisfaction in the city’s dismal service delivery record which has seen some areas going for weeks without garbage collection and poor water supply.

Speaking at a consultative budget meeting, an unnammed one Ward 9 resident said the city fathers should have proposed a reasonable percentage which ratepayers could afford.

“The city fathers should have at least proposed a 50 percent increase, a 200 percent increase in unheard-of, what the council is offering does not meet the kind of money we are paying, above all our wages are very low and have not increased,” said the resident.

Masvingo United and Ratepayers Alliance (Murra) spokesperson, Godfrey Mtimba told TellZim News that the local authority seemed ignorant of the hardships being faced by residents.

“We are extremely against the idea of increasing charges at a time residents’ sources of income remain stagnant. Masvingo city council is one of the few urban councils that increased rates by 60 percent during the 2019 budget and why a supplementary budget barely a year of adopting it.

“We are happy that residents have spoken, loud and clear, they rejected the hikes during the consultative meetings held around the city. We appeal to the city council to respect the residents’ wishes and we warn the city fathers that an attempt to go against residents wishes will be disastrous,” said Mtimba.

In November last year the local authority had difficulties in implementing a proposed 66 percent rates hike after residents said it did not match the kind of service delivery being offered.

With the local RTGS dollar continuing to devalue, local authorities who had their 2019 budgets drafted using the local currency have since moved to supplement in order to improve service delivery in their respective towns putting another burden upon struggling ratepayers.