REDCLIFF municipality has engaged residents who owe the local authority to provide skilled and non-skilled labour in different areas as a way of paying off their debts.
BY BRENNA MATENDERE
The local authority is owed about $500 000 in unpaid water and sewer rates by the residents.
Town clerk Gilson Chakauya confirmed the development and revealed that the council was motivated to embark on the programme to cushion its debtors who may be financially constrained but were able to perform some work to enhance service delivery.
He said the underprivileged, such as widows who do not have sources of income but owe council, were also considered.
“The programme is such that if there is a resident who owes us as council, they can come and give us a proposal of the kind of work they can do for us and then instead of paying them, we deduct the cost of their labour on their bills,” he said.
The town clerk also revealed that so far residents have come up with different proposals of the work they can do and some are already working on various tasks such as road maintenance, drainage clearance and public lighting repairs.
“As for the elderly and some women, they are doing general cleaning and the cost of their labour is subtracted from their bills. We had some electricians who used to work for Zisco steel and these are working on public lights,” he said.
Lloyd Mukapiko, the Redcliff legislator hailed the move.
“It’s a step in the right direction. Most of the people are not employed yet they have skills that they can survive on.
“So we are saying they can take advantage and do some work in order to clear their arrears. We applaud the council for being sensitive to the plight of the needy residents who are battling the current economic meltdown,” he said.
Redcliff Municipality was heavily affected by the closure of Zisco which used to be its revenue lifeline.
The majority of residents in the dormitory town are no longer able to pay off their bills as they were rendered jobless by the closure of the giant steel company which at its peak contributed about $1 billion to the country’s gross domestic product.