By Bulawayo Correspondent
BULAWAYO residents on Wednesday staged demonstrations against the city council over exorbitant rates and poor service delivery.
Protesters were bused from different suburbs with the aid of the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA).
The placard-wielding residents demanded to meet council officials but were blocked from entering the Bulawayo City Hall.
The protesters also accused the council of unilaterally crafting the 2023 budget without their input.
“As residents, we were not consulted when the council crafted next year’s budget. Council officials only came to us with their pre- determined budget and only asked us to endorse the budget. The residents should be involved in all the stages of the budget formulation process,” said Brighton Sando, a Pumula resident.
The local authority last month unveiled a US$157, 99 million budget which will see all rates and tariff increments being put on ice.
A Luveve resident, Mavis Ndlovu accused the council of failing to deliver service to the residents.
“Where I stay, the council has not been collecting garbage for some time yet they want to continue getting money from residents. Sewer is also just flowing everywhere and council is not doing anything about it,” said Ndlovu.
Another resident also accused council of short changing residents by charging inflated tariffs.
“We have got serious problems with water bills these days. The council is now in the habit of estimating monthly water consumption. Since they started billing residents in USD this year, my water bills have increased four times higher than what I used to pay before.
“We have been trying to engage our council over this issue but it seems there is no solution in sight,” said the resident.
Police did not disrupt the demonstrators while council police blocked the main entrance to council offices and Large City Hall.