Residents in Redcliff are appealing to the local authority to slash water bills arguing they cannot afford to settle them because the rates are too high.
Redcliff City Council buys water from Ziscosteel who in turn buys it from Kwekwe City Council at 40c per cubic metre before selling it to residents at 60c.
Most residents have since stopped paying bills in protest.
At a recent consultative meeting attended by Redcliff Mayor, Councillor Joseph Matewa, the residents said they were struggling to pay for water.
“Ratepayers in Kwekwe get water at 40c per unit while we are charged 60c coupled with very high tariffs and rates, in a city full of Ziscosteel employees who have only received one month’s salary in the past year. We should rank amongst the nation’s poorest people buying the most expensive water,” said one resident, Boniface Madiro.
Matewa told NewsDay his council has since engaged Kwekwe City Council to discuss the possibility of a rate slash which, if approved, will be passed on to residents.
“As it stands, we are in no position to reduce the water bills because we are not a water authority. Redcliff is also buying water from Kwekwe and as a local authority, what we have done is to try and engage our partners there and negotiate for a slash which we can then pass to the residents,” said Matewa.
The stand-off has resulted in the local authority accruing a $7 million water debt which they owe to Kwekwe City Council.
Matewa said his council was only collecting around $80 000 per month in revenue out of the expected $450 000.
Special interest councillor Freddy Kapuya said Redcliff needed help from the business community if it was to pull through.
“Our people now have huge bills, and no income. The local authority has a very small revenue base yet a huge expenditure bill and to me this is a crisis which needs outside help. We need the business community to chip in and bail us out,” said Kapuya.