Cash-Strapped Gweru Residents Demand 50% Slash In Tariffs

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By Staff Reporter

RESIDENTS of Gweru have petitioned the local council requesting a slash in tariffs by at least 50% as most residents are struggling financially.

In a recent letter to Gweru mayor, Josiah Makombe, the director of Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA), Cornilia Selipiwe said the tariffs were beyond the reach of most ratepayers.

Early this year, Local Government Minister July Moyo approved the Gweru City Council’s $3.2 billion budget which has seen tariffs going up by more than 60%.

Currently, Gweru City Council is owned over $295 million by government ministries, residents and businesses.

“As residents of Gweru, we write to your good office concerning the implementation of the approved budget that is already in effect,” Selipiwe wrote in the letter to Makombe.

“Before the enforced Covid-19 business closures, residents wholeheartedly paid the little they had through your, ‘Demonstration By Paying’ initiative, which was a game changer. (However,) the mandatory shutdown of all non-essential businesses has led to the current financial hardships for residents.

“The time away from work since majority of residents are in the vending sector, has significantly reduced their income, making it difficult for them to pay rent. This time please accept this letter as residents of Gweru’s plea for the reduction of council rates by 50% since the residents cannot afford the council rates demanded,” he said.

Selipiwe told that GRRA officials since met with Makombe and highlighted the challenges ordinary ratepayers were facing.

“We are happy the mayor promised to consult fellow councillors with the view of considering the resident’s plea,” he said.