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Dear Mayor: Accountability first before fees increment
Residents Association (CHRA)
September 26, 2012
On Monday, Harare
City Council met business and industry as part of its on-going 2013
pre-budget consultations. Addressing delegates, Harare Mayor, His
Worship Muchadeyi Masunda vowed to increase the current Maternity
fees being charged which are currently pegged at $25USD arguing
that the figure was making it impossible for council clinics to
offer a standard maternity service. This statement caused a stir
amongst the invited guests who pondered on the rationale of increasing
maternity fees and other ancillary fees before even accounting for
the little money council was getting from service users. In his
comment, the Chairperson of the Combined Harare Residents Association,
Mr Simbarashe Moyo said that it defeats logic to begin with increasing
any service fee when the local authority has failed to account for
the monies that we have been paying over the last 5 or more years.
Currently, Harare City council does not have any audit report for
the years 2009-2012. This is a clear contravention of the principle
of accountability and transparency which should be the backbone
of the city's vision in its discharge of municipal services.
During the consultations
which were done for Residents Associations, the City Treasurer reported
that they only managed to collect only 64 million against a projection
of 272 million. CHRA can confirm that of the 64 million, at least
40 million of that money went towards salaries and administration
with the rest going towards service delivery. The City Treasurer
blames this poor revenue collection mainly on residents with whom
he says are non compliant in terms of debt payments. However, the
Association has observed that in as much as the residents are not
paying, which could be attributed to the harsh macro environment
characterized by liquidity challenges, City of Harare still has
a lot to be desired in their overall governance and administration.
Residents are only expected to pay and no feedback is thrown back
at them on how funds would have been used. In a normal arrangement,
it is difficult for one to continuously pay for something that they
do not see value in or any result attainment in the end. This week,
residents of Mbare received bills with a $10USD penalty which was
written "water reconnection penalty". This applied to
everyone and residents stormed CHRA offices with these bills. Contacted
for comment, the City's Treasury department confirmed the development
but refused to shed more light on the rationale behind charging
that fee. This example is just but one of the many ways that the
city has been successful in turning away the critical stakeholder
in its operations which the ratepayer.
urge our beloved elected city fathers to be cognizant of these issues
that residents continue to raise day in and out. Harare has got
more to lose if ever residents connive in shunning the district
payment offices due increasing bills and deteriorating service delivery.
of local government should also play an integral role in this whole
arrangement through availing loans to local authorities timeously.
Local authorities should look for alternative and sustainable sources
of funding and desist from burdening the ordinary ratepayer. Participation
of residents in all council activities should be a culture at town
house. This fosters a sense of belonging and city ownership on the
part of resident such that it is very simple for them to pay their
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