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Harare City Council illegally billing residents
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
August 26, 2011

Combined Harare Residents Association is shocked to note that City of Harare is charging residents an illegal admin fee of up to $20 without consulting the ratepayers. This development was captured after more than 20 residents approached the Association seeking clarification on the latest development. To that end, CHRA would like to implore City of Harare to clarify this figure to residents. City of Harare is currently consulting residents on the crafting of the 2012 City budget and one wonders whether these consultations are anyhow meaningful if the Local Authority can still go on to fix exorbitant charges along the way without consulting residents.

Fixing an additional admin fee of $20 on Council bills clearly contravenes section 219 [2a&b] of the Urban Councils Act (29:15). According to this act, although a Council has the right to fix any charges they deem as relevant to the provision of basic services, the need to consult ratepayers and seek their consent is clearly spelt out. We are not aware of any advertisements, publication or poster stuck at C.O.H local offices advising Residents on the matter. According to the former, this makes the $20 admin fee charge illegal.

We urge Residents to attend budget consultation meetings so as to avoid being ambushed by figures they can not afford. Residents have got the mandate to defend their communities by demanding C.O.H to prioritize services which need improvement for example water delivery. Lately, some parts of Harare have been having an erratic water supply which saw areas like Westgate and Malberein going for many weeks without water. Community roads still need urgent attention and street lights have become a thing of the past especially in most high density suburbs. To that end, there is need for most of the revenue which C.O.H is getting from residents to be channeled towards service delivery. CHRA remains committed to Good Local Governance practiced on a non partisan basis.

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