Chitungwiza Municipality representatives recently told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Rural and Urban Development that the municipality is losing millions of dollars amid revelations that more than 5 000 houses are not regularised and are not being charged rates and other charges.
By Pardon Makunike,Our Reader
First and foremost, we need to put the record straight. The decline in service delivery by the council began more than a decade ago and to say that they have been offering sewer and water services for free to some property owners, is indeed a complete mockery to Chitungwiza residents, with most of these accused residents emerging in the era of dollarisation. The municipality is also accusing the Chitungwiza Residents’ Trust of influencing residents not to pay their rates.
As much as I would encourage residents to pay rates on time, I would also look forward to see residents enjoying the services they sacrifice to pay for every month.
At one time I have heard debates like which one comes first to produce the other one between the egg and chicken.
If the council had been delivering services, the residents’ association would find no reason to mobilise property owners not to pay the rates.
In another related story, a government audit in 2014 revealed that over 14 000 residential stands allocated to home seekers in Chitungwiza with the help of land barons. Most of the residents who are yet to be regularised were allocated in Seke communal lands under Manyame Rural District Council.
In such places the council is not losing anything. The newly-allocated residents are currently using septic tanks for sewer, deep wells for water and refuse trucks have not been seen roaming the dusty streets.
Of course, in Chitungwiza urban, some of the stands were allocated under high-voltage electricity pylons, areas reserved for schools, cemeteries, clinics, churches, recreational activities and roads. Thus, it is almost impossible to regularise some of these houses and such problems have to be resolved amicably.