By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
CHINHOYI residents and ratepayers have been implored to settle their bills to ensure the municipality provides timely and efficient services.
Owing to the country’s high unemployment rate which has been compounded by the on-going national Covid-19 lockdown that has disrupted business particularly the informal sector, residents have been finding it difficult to pay rates and other ancillary municipal levies to the local authority.
As a result, the cash-strapped council has been struggling to provide clean running water, while heaps of uncollected garbage have piled up in the suburbs, with roads not trafficable due to their bad state, among other ills.
The recently installed Chinhoyi mayor, Garikai Dendera told NewZimbabwe.com that residents and ratepayers must pay their municipal bills on time so that council fulfills its obligations.
“We urge our residents to pay their bills timeously and what they owe to council so that we harness money for service delivery to households,” said the mayor.
Added Dendera: “If council is liquid in terms of cash, we will be able to maintain our badly damaged roads due to the incessant rains and provide efficient health services in our clinics in light of the ravaging Covid-19.
“Our water also needs attention. We are looking for a partner who will assist us in refurbishing our water works, water reservoirs and storage tanks so that we provide adequate water to our people.”
Dendera said in addition to council-run educational institutions Mhanyame and Ruvimbo primary schools, the local authority was planning to build more schools in new suburbs that are being created.
“As a local authority, one of our mandate is the provision of education. Therefore, we must continue to prioritise construction of schools in our new suburbs. Functional street lighting is also on top of council’s agenda as the town inches to attain ‘Smart City’ status by 2030.
“A smart city of choice by 2030 can be achieved by providing smart roads, smart street lights, smart sewerage plant, smart water works and efficient refuse collection,” the mayor said.
Chinhoyi Municipality, just like any other local council in the country, is grappling with a cash crunch and has to devise alternative revenue streams, said Dendera, who hinted he would want a second bite of the cherry come 2023 harmonised elections.
He said plans were afoot by the local council to purchase a fire tender, a grader and an ambulance to improve service delivery.
Dendera was recently elected Chinhoyi premier following the recall of then mayor Dyke Makumbi last November by MDC-T along with five other local councillors. Makumbi and his colleagues were accused of no longer being MDC-T members.