Mpumelelo Nyoni, Chronicle Reporter
Residents have denounced plans by Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to increase rates and service charges.
Council has proposed to increase rates and service charges by more than 100 percent and the move has since been rejected by residents.
In the event the council’s proposal is approved, residents in high density suburbs will pay at least $40,70 a month up from about $20,29 while residents in medium density suburbs will pay $70,99 up from $35,61 per month.
In a letter addressed to the local authority, the Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (BPRA) spokesperson, Mr Emmanuel Ndlovu, urged the City Fathers to find creative ways of ensuring service delivery given the harsh economic climate.
“It is our view that the Bulawayo City Council management must take time to ponder about the ‘human cost’ of the decision and treat residents as ‘clients’ and not mere bystanders. In the past, Bulawayo City Council has been a leader in service delivery excellence and consultation but such command decision making is a serious setback on democracy and a return to authoritarian rule,” said Mr Ndlovu.
He said due to the closure of industries in Bulawayo, some residents were surviving on vending and as such have very little income.
“In light of the above, it has become obvious that BCC should begin the process of thinking outside the box and not over-rely on rates as the only source of revenue.”
“In exploring other revenue schemes outside ratepayers, BCC should maximise on council assets and farms. Council must think of repossessing some of its farms and make them productive. What happened to the nature reserves that council used to own? Most of these places have been left derelict to such an extent that they are no longer attractive,” said Mr Ndlovu.