BY Garikai Mafirakureva
The Zimbabwe Human Rights (ZImRights) has threatened to sue Chiredzi council for billing residents for services that it did not render.
ZimRights demanded that the council remove accumulated refuse collection and water bills from statements of accounts for services not rendered.
Makondo Extension residents have gone for over 11 months without water and there was no sewerage system and roads, but they still received accumulated bills of services rendered. Residents have also made several complaints to council, but authorities reportedly refused to attend to the grievances.
Chiredzi town secretary, Charles Muchatukwa, last year played down the letter which he read in a full council meeting and referred to it as a test case. “This is just a test case. I have never heard of any case like that before,” he said.
According to the United Chiredzi Residents and Ratepayers’ Association secretary-general, Bernard Dachi, the stands were offered to residents in 2010 at a cost of $500 each by the Local Government ministry, since it was State land.
Part of the letter to council read: “Local authorities are a frontline of service delivery as the Urban Council Act empowers them to provide and charge for collection, conveyance, treatment, and disposal of sewerage or storm water, construction of roads and supply and the maintenance and others on areas under the areas of their jurisdiction as provided under section 168 and section 198 (1) as read with second schedule of the Urban Council Act [29:29] and section 57 to 59 of the Environment Management Act [Chapter 20:27].
“Councils play key roles in the delivery of basic public services and infrastructure necessary for business development. The failure by council to provide these basic services is not only a service delivery issue, but a violation of fundamental human rights protected in the Constitution such as the right to water and right to health.
“Failure of which we have strict instructions to approach the courts for urgent redress, costs of suit which will be borne by you. Furthermore, our clients will not be paying for services not rendered.”