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Harare East Public Meeting report
Harare Residents Trust
January 25, 2011

Welcome Remarks:

Misha Misha, 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.


  • Deliberations on service delivery by the local service providers.
  • Examining the proposed 2011 City of Harare Budget.

The facilitator 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.

The views of the residents:

Below we highlight the major contributions from residents on the budget discussion that ensued.

  • Refuse Collection - The residents highlighted that they are prepared to pay only US$1 for refuse collection "dhora rimwe riri nani" "tototsigira padhora chete".
  • Rentals - The participants noted that they would want to pay not more than US$5
  • Sewerage 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).
  • Supplementary 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 (ZERO fees).
  • Maternity 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.
  • Hospital 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.
  • Ambulance 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.

Presentations from Partners

Lafarge Community's social responsibility program

-The representative 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.

Councilor Zhuwau

The councilor 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.

Presentation 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.

However, he 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.

Analysis 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.

Contact Details:

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 on /

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