Nyazura residents fight Makoni council

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Nyazura Township residents are up in arms with Makoni Rural District Council (MRDC) over its decision to clamp down on ratepayers failing to clear thousands of dollars in unpaid rates and water charges.

The council has begun disconnecting water supplies to the township with Nyazura last week being cut off over the outstanding debts some of which date back to 2009.

But residents accused the local authority of fleecing them through exorbitant rates which they claimed do not reflect the actual usage of water.

MRDC chief executive officer Edward Pise was not readily available for comment and an official who answered his phone refused to comment, saying he was not mandated to do so.

The residents, however, are contemplating taking council to court over the disconnections if negotiations failed.

“You cannot imagine what is happening here. There is a lot of confusion in council and the major problems are emanating from poor communication.

“Imagine what happens when all households in the area do not have tap water. We walk for long distances to get water and we are actually sitting on a time bomb,” said chairman of the Nyazura Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association Cleophas Zvaita.

Zvaita added: “The only solution we are left with is to approach the courts and the minister (Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo). The rates are inflated because they are based on estimates. We have to wage this fight because council threatens to attach (personal) property.”

The lowest debtors in Nyazura are averaging $200 which the angry residents said they could not afford.
“We are told that council has come up with the payment scheme which every resident is expected to agree on.

“The problem I have with that payment scheme is it was not agreed on by residents and, in my view, our feud with council is over their billing system, not over payment,” said Tafara Tembo, a resident.

Local MP Pishai Muchauraya said he had petitioned Chombo to try and resolve the impasse.