GWERU City Council has proposed to more than double burial charges to $160 from $60 for non-residents and $80 from $30 for adults and children respectively, a senior council official has said.
BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
Acting director of finance, Owen Masimba, said residents would also have to fork out “a little more” for burial at the city’s cemeteries.
“Council intends to increase burial fees for non-residents from $60 to $160 for adults, while children and still-born burial charges have increased from $30 to $80,” Masimba said while discussing the council’s $45 million budget for 2019 recently.
“We have also slightly increased burial fees for residents from $60 to $80 for adults and $30 to $40 for children and the still-born, respectively.”
But Gweru Residents Forum director, Charles Mazorodze castigated the increases, saying they burdened the already “economically suffering” ratepayers.
“The proposed increase of burial fees by almost 140% for non-residents and also the hike for residents comes at a time people are reeling under difficult economic conditions bedevilling the country and Gweru is no exception,” Mazorodze said.
“Councillors and management should urgently revisit the proposed cemetery fees increase and a litany of other tariff increases and move to adopt a pro-poor and leaner budget. Residents cannot suffer at meeting the cost of service delivery and then suffer again in forking out money to their final resting place.”
Gweru has four cemeteries — Mtapa, Mutasa, Matinunura and Senga — although Mtapa no longer has burial space except for those who booked the graves in advance.
A 2017 half-year review report released by council showed that the local authority was banking on grave sales to boost its revenue as the sale of graves was the only area council was “performing well.”