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City Treasurer failing residents of Harare
January 23, 2012
The HRT sees
the intensified dispatch of summons by the City Treasury as the
clearest indicator so far of the lack of creativity and initiative
to find alternative means of increasing the city's revenue
by the City Treasurer Mr Misheck Mubvumbi.
This is so because
the City of Harare has failed to explain why it maintains a private
Executive Payroll for its 62 senior managers including the heads
of departments. As long as they give salaries ranging between US$10
000 to US$18 000 to the heads of departments, the residents of Harare
have no reason to feel compelled to pay for services not rendered
like water, road maintenance and refuse collection.
residents squarely blame the City Treasurer for his gross failure
to make sound recommendations to the City of Harare, through the
Finance and Development Committee, and subsequently to the Full
Council to give policy back up to his recommendations. Rather the
City Treasurer is contend with issuing summons, lying that residents
and other stakeholders are not paying their rates when it is clear
that the City of Harare is using estimated means to charge residents.
The system of entering residents' payment data is manual and
hence subject to abuse and manipulation by his department.
will have noted that the City of Harare has taken advantage of the
New Year by increasing its tariffs for commercial properties. Water
- fixed charge has been raised from $58 to $92 - an increase of
$34 which a 55% increase. Water - from $0.60c per cubic meter to
$0.80 per cubic meter - an increase of 33%. Sewage removal - from
$10 per toilet to $15 per toilet (50% increases) and from $19 fixed
charge to $29 fixed charge (53%).
If these figures
are anything to go by, it clearly shows that the City Treasurer
has unilaterally raised rates by 50%, without residents' input,
and that is criminal. There has to be an explanation to this madness
before residents resort to other means to safeguard themselves against
further abuse. This despite a fruitful meeting at Makombe Building
that was held in November among the Minister of Local Government,
Rural and Urban Development, the Mayor of Harare, the Town Clerk
and his heads of departments, the Harare Residents' Trust
and city of Harare workers representatives.
There was gross
manipulation of residents' debts from the Zimbabwe Dollar
era in February 209 when Zimbabwe introduced the multi-currency
payment regime. While residents and other citizens lost substantial
amounts of money invested in Zimbabwe Dollar in banks and other
investment portfolios, the City of Harare actually converted those
amounts owed in the defunct Zimbabwe Dollar into US$ using prevailing
black market rates at that time, ignoring monetary pronouncements
and policy positions.
This is a desperate
attempt by the City of Harare to get revenue, yet the city employs
a city Treasurer to help them control finances and generate revenue.
If he cannot deliver, the best way to go is to resign and leave
other competent people in his department.
pay for council services but the figures should never impoverish
them. Most household heads are unemployed meaning they are incapacitated
to pay these rates. The HRT will continue to speak on these issues
to protect residents of Harare against this madness by the City
of Harare. However, residents who have received and who will receive
summons are encouraged to immediately write a letter and deliver
it to where the summons have come from to oppose the summons. This
can be done by documenting the reasons for failure of payment and
submitting the appeal to the civil court. It is time for us as residents
to show that we have the power to influence our destiny. Kana tati
hoo, tobva tambomira (If we say stop, let's stop), no one
has power to force us to do what we do not want. Service providers
should learn to respect their sources of funding than resort to
arbitrary means to generate revenue.
We call apon
the residents of Harare to unite in their thousands and reject the
dialogue has proved to be less fruitful with the City of Harare.
The HRT demands the scrapping of all debts that have been accrued
by residents from February 2009 to December 2010. The summons has
crippled residents' capacity to pay and now risk losing their
property. The City of Harare has willy-nilly violated the Urban
Councils' Act (Chapter 29:15) by continuously imposing
a budget disregarding residents and other stakeholders' input.
It is time for action.
Visit the Harare
Residents' Trust fact
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