Harare Council Dragged To Court Over Ward Remittance Funds

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By Anna Chibamu

THE Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) has dragged the Harare City Council to court for failing to remit retention funds to the capital’s 46 wards.

In a statement, CHRA stated council passed a resolution in 2017 in which it pledged to ensure 25 % of the ward retention funds would have been given back to the wards for development purposes but the authority has failed to live up to the promise.

Read part of CHRA’s statement on Monday, “On the 23rd of February 2017, Harare City Council made a resolution to remit 25% of revenue collected on each ward to be used for developmental initiatives for each ward but nothing has been disbursed to date.”

According to CHRA, the court intervention comes at a time the cash-strapped local authority was also failing to supply equipment needed to attend to sewer blockages, grass cutting and water bursts at local district offices.

The Ward retention fund was meant to cater for locally identified developmental projects that will not be prioritised in the Capital budgets for the respective local area.

“The court application in which CHRA is an applicant with case number HC2286 is seeking a relief order for; Harare City Council to remit 25% of the rates collected in 46 wards in Harare as per council resolution made in 2017 and for the acting Finance director to open designated bank accounts with a duly registered commercial bank in Zimbabwe for each residential ward in Harare for the purpose of collection of rates payments from residents.

“The City to remit 25% of the rates collected in the 46 residential wards in Harare no later than the last day of each and every month that follows.

“Harare City must remit 25% of the rates collected prior to the date of this order within 30 days of service of the order on it,” said CHRA.

Meanwhile, council on Monday appealed for assistance from the corporate world to help revamp the city’s refuse collection programme.

At a press briefing, mayor Musarurwa Mutizwa appealed for garbage collection assistance from corporates.

Over the past two decades, the country’s biggest local authority has struggled with refuse collection issues as seen by huge piles of garbage in the Central Business District (CBD) and in residential areas.

The city fathers have blamed challenges being experienced to continued failure by residents to meet their rate payment obligations.

Council promised door-to-door garbage collection improvement after similar promises to clear illegal dump sites recently.

“Council will take delivery of 15 refuse trucks bought a few years back. We have also agreed with Financial Clearance Bureau to have all council debtors blacklisted,” warned Mutizwa.

The mayor also appealed to industry to participate fully in removing waste from their used products.