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Residents mull rates boycott

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Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) has threatened to mobilise city residents to boycott paying rates on time until service delivery improves.
HRT also called for the amendment of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) to ensure that local authorities were led by elected mayors, who derive their mandate from residents, and not from political parties.
In a statement, the residents’ association said council should make necessary adjustments to its huge salary bill, in line with the government’s directive.
“Failure by the City of Harare to heed this call, HRT will be left with no option but to mobilise residents against undue exploitation by an elite class managing public resources at Town House.
“One of the options is for residents, business and industry to delay payment by two weeks every month until service delivery really improves,” reads part of the statement. HRT accused the mayor Muchadeyi Masunda of defying the call by government to slash salaries adding that residents would not allow themselves to be held toransom by senior council officials who take home 70 percent of the city’s revenue in salaries and allowances against that of service provision of 30 percent.
The residents’ association said some employees were wallowing in poverty as a result of unexplained delays in paying their salaries yet senior managers got paid on time.
“Central government has a right to intervene where the rights of ordinary citizens are trampled by elitists masquerading as professionals, who lack a connection with the harsh economic, social and political environment.
“Residents have a legitimate right to withhold their rates and rentals to the City of Harare if it continues to focus on enriching its underperforming senior managers,” HRT said.
Deputy Minister of Local Government Sesel Zvidzai has directed that 70% of city revenue should go towards service delivery.
“His (Masunda) reasoning is driven by the desire to amass wealth at the expense of the ratepayer. City heads of departments are in the employ of the public and there is nothing confidential about their salaries and perks. The residents of Harare have a legitimate right to know how much the directors earn from the ratepayers’ money,” said HRT.

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