Mutare council reverse rates hike

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MUTARE – Mutare City Council (MCC) has made downward review and reversal of all 2020 rates following an outcry from the hard-pressed residents.

Mutare residents were shocked after they received their March bills indicating astronomical rise in itemised rates, shooting to way above the 300% mark.

Residents who in the past would pay about ZWL190 were now being asked to part with a whopping ZWL$600 in rates.

Plans were now afoot by many Mutare residents to demonstrate against the hikes, but the move was derailed by a recent government decree imposing a countrywide lockdown to minimise the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 21-day countrywide lockdown directive by goverment came into force this week on Monday.

Mutare town clerk Joshua Maligwa has, however, clarified the rates-hike issue, claiming the increase had emanated from a systems error at implementation stage.

Maligwa said the error had been caused after the council moved from Promun to the Quantrix budgeting module.

“Please, be advised that there was a billing error due to the migration (of council’s billing system) from the Promun to Quantrix Budgeting Module, which resulted in the residents being erroneously levied higher bills.

“Axis Solution has now been
engaged to reverse the error and all reversals have been concluded,” Maligwa said.

“The finance director is in the process of implementing the appropriate tariffs and we hope the billing of the accurate tariffs will be related to residents by the end of this week,” Maligwa added.

The United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Trust (UMRRT), however, said the initial hikes by the council were tragic, urging city authorities to exercise due caution in the future.

“It was a tragedy. It was going to worsen the COVID-19 crisis in terms of access to water. Now, council must work to update residents on the current position and find effective communications strategy going forward,” Addie Dube, the UMRRT programmes co-ordinator, said.

“We appeal to council to now suspend all evictions and water disconnection,” he added.

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