Murra will be live on Hevoi FM @ 5:30pm to discuss the impact of covid-19 lockdown on residents.
By Tatenda Chitagu
The Masvingo City Council, which had hiked charges by 400 percent in the new budget, has relented to pressure from residents and reduced the charges by 21 percent.
Residents are however still not accepting the new charges, saying the local authority should reduce the hike by 200 percent.
The Masvingo residents allege that the bills, which will be down to around $472 per household in the high-density suburbs per month, are way beyond the reach of many.
In a notice on the reduction of minimum water charges recently, the MCC says the new billing regime will be with effect from 01 April.
“(The) City of Masvingo would like to notify residents and ratepayers that it has reduced the minimum water band from 0-10cubic meters to 0-5 cubic meters, translating to a reduction in the minimum water charge for high-density areas from $260 to $130 and the basic household bill from $602, 90 to $472,90.
“The effect of this is that residents will pay less in fixed charges and their bill becomes more dependent on their water consumption,” reads the notice by Acting Town Clerk, Engineer Edward Mukaratirwa
The reversal came after advocacy and lobbying by residents pressure group, the Masvingo Residents and Ratepayers Alliance, (MURRA).
MURRA spokesperson, Godfrey Mtimba, said the organisation was also going to engage its membership on the way forward.
“In the previous meeting, we were asked to make submissions. In response, the council proposed to reduce the bill by 21 percent. It is against this background that MURRA seeks to come back to the generality of our membership for guidance,” he said.
Most residents were of the view that the charges were too much, arguing that water supplies remained erratic despite being invoiced high bills at the end of the month.
The city had introduced a tight water rationing program before the lockdown that saw various suburbs getting water supplies at least three times a week.
The meeting between our leadership and Masvingo City has come to an end. The two parties have PARTIALLY’ agreed on the need to cut cost and adjust the budget. The council has pledged to hold an special full council meeting by the end of this week to come up with a resolution over the issue. Council again asked MURRA to put its submissions in writting before the special council meeting is held so that it can figure out were to cut costs and make adjustments to the budget if possible. The city father say they will put in writting their response after the meeting, possibly early next week. The response shall be shared to members, Meanwhile the council has urged residents to pay their current bills while they finalize the issue .
Enhancing civic participation in local governance.
We Pay You Deliver!
Inserted by MURRA information department.
Residents Alert. April 21
This communications serves to inform our membership that your esteemed MURRA leadership and its legal advisers is currently holed up in a crucial meeting with City Council management to discuss the issue of unjustified rates hikes that saw current bills ballooning beyond the reach of many residents. City council argues that the rates were a result of the approval of 2020 budget which residents vehemently rejected and objected as required by the Urban Council ACT. In the meeting We are demanding that the rates be revised downwards to reasonable proportions that will be affordable to struggling residents in the city.
Outcomes of the meeting deliberations will be fully shared to our membership.
Enhancing citizen participation in local governance.
We Pay You Deliver!
Inserted by MURRA Information department.
by Murra information
Residents condemn looting of subsidised mealie-meal by police manning queues at retail shops.
MURRA would like to express concern over allegations by residents that some unscrupulous and rogue police officers manning mealie meal queues at Sisk and Yeukai business center abused their power of office to loot subsidized mealie meal for resale when ordinary residents failed to access it. Residents allege that police officers enforcing lockdown regulations, particularly observance of social distance in queues took the opportunity to horde the scarce commodity which they will sell at double price on the parallel market. Residents condemn such malpracticies in the strongest terms and urge local police bosses to intervene. Meanwhile residents would like to appalud local grain millers for taking up a bold decision to bring subsidised mealie- meal to residential areas for easy access to residents as way to limit manipulation by rougue law enforcements agents. We say Kudos to the millers for making sure that residents access the precious staple without difficulities during lockdown. We also urge residents to continue observing social distancing and constantly wash their hands, when millers bring their staple to their neighborhood.
Inserted by Murra information.
Masvingo residents have filed an urgent High Court application in a bid to force the local authority to supply water to residential areas during the 21 day national lockdown.
Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance (MURRA) filed the papers citing Masvingo City Council, the Minister of Local Government, Minister of Health and the Minister of Finance as respondents.
According to court papers, the residents accuse Council of failing to ensure constant supply of clean, safe and portable water.
They are now seeking court relief ordering the local authority to immediately supply residents with portable water.
Residents are also seeking an order from the courts ordering the Minister of Finance to urgently assist Masvingo City Council by availing resources to enable them to provide an uninterrupted water supply to residents.
Both respondents are yet to file their opposing papers to the case.
The case mirrors another one filed and won by the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) against the same respondents.
Zimbabwe is currently under a 21 day lockdown with people being encouraged to minimise movement and stay indoors as a measure to curb the spread of the deadly virus which has so far claimed one life and infected nine.
The World Health Organisation has also urged people to constantly wash their hands using running water, as one measure of avoiding the spread of the deadly COVID 19 pandemic.
Masvingo residents have been relying on boreholes mostly as they are only receiving water twice a week.
This has increased the risk of spreading the disease.
Masvingo City Council has in the past cited unavailability of electricity to pump water but since the national began, the city has not experienced any load shedding.
Bad State of Mucheke River…
.Masvingo journalists under Zimbabwe Union of Journalists(ZUJ), are currently touring the river with the assistance of Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance, Mutirikwi Sub Catchment council and Environmental Management Agency. Journos came face to face with pollution in the rivers that feeds into Lake Mtrikwi, the city’s sole source of water for residents.
Murra held a gender sensitive service delivery meeting with ward 4 women and girls. Women and girls says they bear the brunt of poor service delivery. Top on the agenda was critical water shortages and women lamented the challenges they face daily while fetching water from boreholes. Some male water barons were accused of taking advantage if desperate women to molest them so that they get favours in accessing water or to jump long queues . Some young girls have fallen victim to rape and various forms of sexual harassment while they try to fetch water, as their home tapes go for days without running water.