Masvingo residents reject council budget, vow to stage protests

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By Staff Reporter

MASVINGO residents have rejected a $26million 2019 budget proposal the local authority and vowed to stage protests if the city council adopts the fiscal plan.

Council is, among other measures, proposing to increase water tariffs from 80c per 18 cubic meters for domestic consumption to $1.45 while commercial usage will increase from $1.90 to $2.10 for the first 24 cubic meters.

The local authority is also proposing to increase refuse collection charge per bin from the current $1 to 1.40 per month.

City treasurer Thandiwe Dube said the budget was not a final product as it is still at the consultation stage with rate payers being given a 30-day window to lodge their objections.

However, Masvingo United and Ratepayers Alliance spokesperson Godfrey Mtimba said the proposed increases to service levies were unrealistic as the local authority was failing to provide adequate water and sewer reticulation to rate payers.

“Why are they proposing to hike water and refuse collection services while they are failing to provide these services?

“We are going to reject the budget. We will mobilise residents and other rate payers and take it to the streets as a sign of rejecting this budget,” Mtimba said.

Currently, the city is experiencing erratic water supplies with some residential areas now going for two weeks without taped water.

Council has, for the past five years, failed to secure a government guarantee on a $50 million loan that was extended by Chinese firm.

Once given the money the local authority plans to undertake a water supply augmentation project aimed at increasing the city’s pumping capacity from the current 30 mega litres a day to 48 mega litres.