GWERU City Council has imposed an over 100% tariff hike for high-density suburbs, while those for business vary.
BY BRENNA MATENDERE
The local authority cited the runaway inflation for the increases in a development which is set to pile more misery on financially-constrained residents, the majority of whom are informal traders currently barred from working in town.
Mayor Josiah Makombe said the upward review of the tariffs could not be avoided.
“We must not blame anyone for the tariff hike, but the economy itself. There is nothing we can do to cope with the rising inflation that has made prices of everything go up, mostly water chemicals. If you go into the shop, everything has gone up since beginning of the year when our 2020 budget was introduced,” he said.
However, residents said they should not be overburdened by further increases in tariffs and urged council to focus more on income-generating projects.
Reward Mhuri, secretary-general of the Gweru United Residents’ Association (GURA), said council was increasing tariffs at a time there was evidence of misuse of public funds by the local authority.
“I have evidence that some residential stands which were sold have not been accounted for. The money was misused. This is the money that should help council remain afloat, among other income-generating projects, and not hike tariffs for residents who are struggling,” he said.
GURA chairperson Charles Rutsate urged council to revive its business enterprises to get money to fund its operations.
“We have an example of Go Beer Breweries, which was a council company. They could revive it and use the money for operations than relying on rates alone,” he said.
According to the new tariff schedule, fixed sewage charges in high-density suburbs will now be $70,99, up from $35,47, while reconnection for faulty sewer lines will rise from $982 to $20 013,46 for commercial companies.
Refuse collection in high-density suburbs will now cost $85, up from the current $34,35.
Burial fees for adults will be $1 891,88 from $1 261,25 while for still-born children, it will be $945,94, up from $630,63.