Victoria Falls Municipality has proposed to introduce a special health levy for the vulnerable and disadvantaged residents beginning next year.
The proposal was made by Council’s Finance Director Neville Ndlovu yesterday during an all stakeholders meeting, amid a realisation that the vulnerable, especially the elderly and orphans were failing to get medical attention and treatment due to lack of finances.
Ndlovu said the newly proposed levy will be pegged between US$1 and US$ 10 depending on affordability and location.
“We are proposing to introduce a special levy meant to benefit the elderly people and vulnerable people who cannot afford to pay medical bills on their own,” Ndlovu proposed.
We would like to propose that those from high-density suburbs (Mkhosana and Chinotimba) pay US$1 per month and those in middle density will pay US$2.
“Those in low-density areas will pay US$3 towards the same special levy, while all commercial businesses will pay US$10.”
Town Clerk Ronnie Dube said the money will be disbursed through Mkhosana and Chinotimba Council clinics.
He said they are planning to hire a qualified doctor to service the two clinics.
“It is our intention to hire a medical doctor who will be attending to the most vulnerable members of the community, so for people to pay that levy, we will be able to sustain the need of a qualified medical practitioner.”
Residents did not object to the proposal, but called for accountability and revision of the proposed 2021 budget pegged at US$ 4 426 854.
Residents said some of the proposed fees and levies were too high considering that the economic situation in the country had worsened due to Covid-19 pandemic.
They said building fees, title deeds fees, water and clinic fees were too high.
However, in response, Ndlovu said for instance, water was expensive because of the high cost of water treatment chemicals, labour costs, maintenance and repairs.
His sentiments were also echoed by Victoria Falls Mayor Somvelo Dlamini who said Council was still battling ownership and management of water from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) where council purchases raw water from the authority before treating it and distributing it to the residents.
For the 2021 budget, residents also proposed roads and sewer maintenance at BD46, Council to stop licensing bars and avail land for recreational parks.
Residents also want a budget set aside for the construction of a community library among other development initiatives.
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology