Residents, Masvingo City Council in rates lockdown

  • MCC increase rates by 700 percent
  • Mayor promises to introduce cost cutting measures to reduce burden on residents

    MASVINGO United Residents Ratepayers’ Association (Murra) on Tuesday hauled  Masvingo City Council (MCC) to the negotiating table.

    The agenda of the meeting was to have MCC concede to a downward review of the government approved 2020 services increase.

    The meeting – held at Civic Centre Hall – was attended by councilors, senior council management and the Murra leadership.

    Speaking to Zim Morning Post, Murra spokesperson Godfrey Mutimba expressed concern over the more than 700 percent monthly services increase, which he said was beyond most residents’ capacity to meet.

    Rates were increased by about 700 percent, and it’s beyond the reach of many poor and struggling city residents. As Murra, we reject in total such an unreasonable services increase. But MCC seems to be unmoved by residents’ genuine pleas for a reprieve,” he said.

    “As residents, we are comfortable with a 300 percent rates increase. Some bills now range from  between ZWL1 000 and ZWL2 000, and  residents cannot afford them,” Mutimba added.

    Currently, the country is in the throes of an economic crisis, with many Zimbabweans countrywide subsisting from hand-to-mouth.

    Economic analysts estimate that upwards of 75 percent of Zimbabweans live below the poverty datum line, with Masvingo city not an exception.

    This publication spoke to Masvingo mayor Collen Maboke who confirmed Tuesday’s meeting with Murra.

    “We discussed the issue of rates with Murra, but the matter was deferred to next week. By then, it is expected as council we would have put in place some cost-cutting measures so that the burden on ratepayers is reduced. In the interim, Masvingo residents should pay the gazetted rates,” the mayor said.

    But Murra spokesperson Mutimba contradicted Maboke’s advice, saying residents should pay whatever they can afford while awaiting finalisation of the matter with the city fathers.

    “Residents should pay what they can afford as we wait for the city council to  meet our demands for a review. As they indicated in this crucial meeting we had with them, they are going to come back to us next week. We are hopeful they will heed our pleas, otherwise this rates deadlock will remain unresolved for a very long time,” he said.