Harare’s Councilor for Ward 42, Naboth Munyengeri says it is unfair for the Harare City Council to compel residents to pay for services not rendered.
Councilor Munyengeri made the remarks during a community meeting organized by the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) in Hatcliffe on June 7, 2017.
Councilor Munyengeri’s remarks followed complaints by residents that they were being made to pay for services such as refuse collection yet the Harare City Council was not collecting refuse in their area.
Some of the residents raised concern that they were being charged fixed water charges yet they were not receiving water from council.
Councilor Munyengeri said charging residents for services not rendered amounted to extortion.
“Residents should pay for services that are rendered to them. Why should residents be made to pay for refuse collection when council is not collecting refuse? I urge residents to pay for services that are being provided to them,” said Councilor Munyengeri.
Attendants at the meeting
On another note, Councilor Munyengeri urged residents to deal with council directly when making payments adding that the Harare City Council had terminated the contract of Wellcash Debt Collectors following numerous complaints from residents.
Wellcash Debt Collectors had been contracted by the Harare City Council to recover money owed by residents.
“The reason why we had to stop Wellcash is that they did not follow proper procedures. They were threatening residents and adding an extra 10 percent on top of what you (residents) owed to council. That is why we decided to terminate their contract because they failed to execute their duty properly,” said Councilor Munyengeri.
Councilor Munyengeri addressing the residents
Council officials present during the public meeting reiterated that they were willing to listen to residents’ concerns and urged residents with huge debts to approach council for payment plans.
The officials also expressed hope that the recently introduced decentralization exercise by the Harare City Council would lead to improved service delivery. They attributed the non-collection of refuse to the shortage of garbage trucks at Harare City Council but highlighted that the issue will be solved in the near future as the local authority is set to acquire more garbage trucks.
Other issues raised by residents during the public meeting included the poor state of roads as well as the lack of adequate health facilities in Hatcliffe.