Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda on Sunday said the Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT), should enter into constructive engagement with the council and stop behaving like rebels without a cause.
The council and the HRT are at odds over the approved council budget which the residents’ body says should not be implemented because it was objected to by more than 300 residents in the capital city.
The HRT is mobilising residents to disregard the latest rates pegged by the council.
“The HRT should enter into constructive engagement with us and stop behaving like rebels without a cause. Finally, they should remember we are on our own and we have to generate the money required to finance basic services,” Masunda said.
“At the risk of stating the obvious, money does not grow on trees.”
He said the council was owed $150 million of which $70 million was owed by commercial consumers, $50 million by government establishments and $30 million by individual consumers.
“We are not going to be cowed into submission by a small group of stakeholders who seem to be hell-bent on embarking on counter- productive measures which will compromise our capacity to deliver the same services they are clamouring for,” Masunda said.
“They should realise that we are not dealing with Mickey Mouse issues here. For example, we require $58 million to rehabilitate the road network in the high-density suburbs.”
The HRT last week urged residents to pay only $15 to the city.
“The more people who monitor their bills and track city expenditure, the easier it is for all residents to unite and make the authorities realise that you have real power,” read the statement.
“The HRT urges you to pay only $15 for all rates to the council every month, covering water, sewerage, refuse collection and supplementary charges. Last week Local Government, Rural and Urban Development minister Ignatius Chombo said:
“For residents to threaten to pay $15 it doesn’t help, they have to pay what they used. How do we just want uniform water without uniform payment of water?
“They have good water and in turn they pay stipulated fees for maintenance. Our residents understand things very well.”