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Harare East Public Meeting report
January 25, 2011
the Harare East Residents Committee Chairperson (facilitator) welcomed
all the present participants and the guest speakers from the HRT
secretariat for the public meeting. An opening prayer was given
by a volunteer. The facilitator proceeded with an introduction of
the Harare East Resident's Committee. He introduced all the
guests from other organizations, other HRT residents committees
present, the representative from the health department (Sister Musarurwa),
a representative from Larfarge Cement Company and Councilor Munyaradzi
Kufahakutizwi (Ward 19) and Francisco Zhuwau (Ward 46). The facilitator
went on to acknowledge the present police officers from the office
of the President of Zimbabwe.
on service delivery by the local service providers.
the proposed 2011 City of Harare Budget.
went on to make a brief presentation on the proposed figures for
critical services for the community as indicated in the 2011 budget
statement presented to the council on 30 November 2010 by the late
Finance and Development Committee Chairperson Ruth Rufaro Kavunika.
He highlighted that the participants were free to propose the rates
or fees they could afford.
views of the residents:
Below we highlight
the major contributions from residents on the budget discussion
- Refuse Collection
- The residents highlighted that they are prepared to pay only
US$1 for refuse collection "dhora rimwe riri nani"
"tototsigira padhora chete".
- The participants noted that they would want to pay not more
reticulation - The state of sewerage has not improved in the area
despite the resident's monthly rates' payment in 2010
as a result they highlighted that they would want to pay $0.50
only for sewerage reticulation.
- Fixed Charges
- The residents noted that the quality of water has deteriorated
in the community, council water taps are not functioning "ma
pipes e kanzuru akawora". If there are pipe bursts in the
community, residents are required to repair their own pipes or
taps which was formerly the responsibility of council. It was
suggested that there should be no fixed charges (ZERO).
Charges - Councilor Zhuwau explained to the residents that these
are used to repair pipes and taps which are damaged in the area
and other council operations. It was suggested that supplementary
charges should be US$2.
- Water Charges
- There are no meter readers from the council, the meters are
down and the local authority relies on estimates for household
bills "estimate yeyi ipo pasingabude mvura yacho".
The residents noted that there is lack of transparency and accountability
on the part of the City of Harare. They said they did not want
to pay for water services in the community (ZERO fees) because
the area has remained without regular supplies.
- Clinic Fees
- The residents were of the view that consultation fess should
not be charged "consultation fees ndeyeyi?" "ndeyekuti
ndarwara here?". The health representative present at the
meeting noted that the fees was important "yakangofanana
na makandinzwa nani?". The residents said they were resorting
to traditional medicine because the consultation fees of US $10
are unaffordable to them. There should be no consultation fees
Fees - The residents noted that the US$30 being proposed by council
is expensive and should not be charged. The health representative
present however explained that the fee is important as it covers
the health consultations from 16 days pregnancy to six weeks post-pregnancy
period. The fee is also used when there is need for the clinic
to hire an ambulance for the labor patient, to facilitate HIV
tests, medical check ups, exercise programs for pregnant women,
and sterilize delivery packs and all the materials necessary when
giving birth. Some of the participants noted that the fee is justified
but others said they should meet half way with the council. It
was concluded that the fee should be $10.
fees - It was pointed out that this should be $15
- Burial fees
- The residents argued that if the government of Zimbabwe made
land available for free under the land reform program then why
should a dead corpse be made to buy land from the City of Harare.
The residents further argued that they paid a lot of money in
rates while alive, which should be enough to take care of them
in death, and not be forced to pay high fees just to be buried
in state land. The graves that are dug are so shallow and the
grave yards are not being maintained, there is tall grass everywhere.
They suggested that the fees should be ZERO. However, others contested
that while the US$75 was too much, burial in urban centres should
be regulated so that people are buried in rural areas where there
is sufficient land.
Fees - Residents asked the councilors and the health official
present why council clinics charged more than one patient transferred
from a clinic to a hospital in an ambulance would be charged separately
when it was a single trip, worth US$10. Instead the council charges
all the patients ferried at once. The reasonable thing is for
the council to charge the US$10 and the patients share the cost.
- Market Fees
- Despite the council's efforts to build toilets at some
market areas in the community, the women at the meeting noted
that the fees they pay for renting a market stall is expensive
since the area is too small. What is surprising to them is that
they pay more than what they pay for their houses.
Community's social responsibility program
of Lafarge cement (Nyaradzo Makombe) indicated that she was so pleased
with the participation at the meeting and that their company is
prepared to assist the community in collaboration with the councilors.
She stated that the company seeks to live in harmony with the community
and has changed its name from Circle Cement due to change of ownership.
The company seeks to engage in community projects which can also
benefit them. These include education financing programs for the
disadvantaged children in the community. She also noted some of
the things that the company has managed to do for the community
such as participation in the clean up campaigns with Goal Zimbabwe
and the ongoing fees assistance programs in schools. She stated
that the company would also want to fund sporting activities in
the community. To conclude, she stated that there is need for the
residents to come up with programs which do not benefit individuals
but the community at large. These should be forwarded to Larfarge
through their councilors.
informed the people on the role of councilors, he updated the community
residents on the fact that having realized that water supplies were
erratic in the area; he managed to make follow-ups with the City
of Harare to rectify the problem. The issue of water supplies is
still being looked into and may take time to be addressed since
it is not unique to the community. He also acknowledged that the
councilors had bought cars to enable them to be mobile in their
communities but this does not necessarily mean that they are abusing
City of Harare funds. To conclude, the councilor pointed out that
there is still need to follow up with the City of Harare to address
service delivery concerns.
from the HRT
The HRT founder
and coordinator (Precious Shumba) thanked the participants for attending
the meeting. He went on to give a brief history of the agency and
its work. He noted that public meetings were a platform for residents
to discuss service delivery issues and propose sound strategies
for the problems to be addressed. He stated that although HRT seeks
to address the problems that bedevil the problems that the communities
face, the organization is apolitical and would remain as such. He
noted that councilors are not supposed to be bosses but are supposed
to be responsible to the residents by representing their interests
in local governance issues.
acknowledged the fact that the councilors continue to face corruption
as a hindering factor to their progress in addressing residents'
concerns. Further, they remain hindered by retrogressive provisions
of the Urban
Councils' Act which gave the Minister of Local Government,
Rural and Urban Development excessive powers. Coupled with this
scenario, the councilors have experienced serious challenges in
ensuring the implementation of council's decisions. He advised
the residents to continue to raise concern with the councilors if
there are no improvements in service delivery. Policy making was
also identified as a role of councilors. In line with this, councilors
were encouraged to propose policies that are favorable to the residents.
He raised concern on the inadequate participation of the residents
in the budget formulation process.
It was also
noted that the councilors deliberately failed to mobilize residents
for the budget formulation meetings which led to a flawed budget
statement. With regards to the proposed 2011 budget, the HRT convened
a review meeting and managed to mobilize the residents to send out
378 objection letters to Town House. He highlighted that Section
219 (3) (a) and (b) of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) requires
only 30 objection letters to reject the draft budget by the City
of Harare. As such, given these developments the proposed budget
should be revised taking into account the proposals by the residents.
The HRT supports the three demonstrations that took place lately
at Town House against the proposed budget and remain committed to
the cause of the residents.
He also raised
concern about the issue of buying posh cars for councilors, how
they acquired those cars remains a mystery. He highlighted that
the HRT is in the process of compiling a comprehensive report on
the possessions that councilors have acquired since they assumed
office in March 2008. The Coordinator went on to highlight that
the HRT is a membership organization and the fee is US$1 per year.
Residents are encouraged to join the HRT and support its programming.
In each Harare community is an HRT residents' structure which
is funded by the membership fees. In conclusion, the coordinator
urged the residents to remain watchful of service delivery issues
and the conduct of their elected representatives, especially councilors
and other service providers.
of the meeting
The HRT team
noted that that the present participants are very conscious of their
rights as residents and council's obligations. The residents
are concerned with the dilapidated state of community service delivery
since it is impacting on their wellbeing. The level of participation
and representations from the health department, local government
and other partner organizations were very encouraging. The Harare
East Residents' committee was able to make good presentations
at the meeting as they were able to guide the residents through
the deliberations at the meeting. The residents overwhelmingly rejected
the proposals contained the 2011 City of Harare Proposed Budget.
Judging by their reaction and contributions, it will be an uphill
task for the City of Harare to make people pay what they cannot
afford, considering that incomes remain low and unemployment rate
remains too high. This means that most residents will remain indebted
to the council.
For any feedback
comments on this meeting please contact Misha Misha (Harare East
HRT residents' committee Chairperson on 0773097972, Simbarashe
Majamanda, the HRT Membership Officer on 0773249039 or email us
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