Residents slam ‘self-serving’ Gweru 2018 budget

THE Gweru Residents’ Forum (GRF) has rejected the council’s 2018 proposed budget, describing it as designed to serve the interests of “self-serving and greedy councillors” at the expense of ratepayers.

By Stephen Chadenga

Last week, Gweru City Council announced a proposed $39 million stand still budget, which it said took into consideration the economic hardships faced by ratepayers, but GRF director Charles Mazorodze dismissed it as offering nothing to the residents.

“While there is a purported belief that the 2018 Gweru City Council budget is a stand still budget, there are several issues proposed by the Charles Chikozho (mayor) and Elizabeth Gwatipedza (town clerk)-led council for adoption by residents in 2018, which are personal and self-serving without genuine consideration of the general citizenry,” Mazorodze said.

“For instance, item 46 of the engineering services department, the 2018 Gweru City Council proposes to install
15 000 prepaid water meters at a whooping cost of $6m despite residents’ dismay over the introduction of the prepaid water system.”

Mazorodze accused the city fathers of smuggling the prepaid water meters into next year’s budget without the blessing of residents.

Council, however, said their consultations showed the majority of residents welcomed the idea of prepaid water meters.
Finance director Edgar Mwedzi recently said the $6m for prepaid water meters would be financed through a public-private-partnership.

Mazorodze also took a swipe at council for its intention to spend $50 000 on training programmes for its staff and councillors, saying it was a waste of resources.

“You wonder what the training is on when council is reeling under serious debt from employment costs as shown by failure to pay employees their salaries for over four months,” he said.

In a related matter, illegal vendors yesterday deserted the streets following the expiry of their given deadline.

Vendors told Southern Eye they feared the heavy-handedness of riot police, but vowed to return to the streets, saying they had no other survival option given the harsh economic climate.

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