Mutare Residents demand Council address land distribution, rubbish, water & road issues.

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I truly believe Mutare is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, not just in Zimbabwe. Its natural beauty is stunning and especially now when everything is flourishing after the rains it is truly breathtaking.

Unfortunately though it has one of the most unacceptable living conditions for a majority of people living here, and it appears to be intentional with band-aid solutions or levies charged but nothing is rarely done or done properly. Over the last month another group of residents have tried to raise some of the issues affecting them with council and unfortunately it appears to have landed on deaf ears once again. The meetings we requested attendance by Council was a no show apart from the local ward councillor.
We submitted our required resolutions fairly as seen below on the 21st March 2018 to the Town Clerk, Chamber Secretary and Public Relations 2 weeks ago and we are yet to receive a response. Although it doesn't list other issues such as Land Distribution, Water delivery and Sewage issues in CBD and high density areas,they will be addressed separately, but every signature counts to change. Now on the 3rd April we have a final meeting, and the Human Rights lawyers with UMRRT will advise residents their rights to how we are to deal with council moving forward, the likely legal class action, and the continuation of paying of levies and rates. As a concerned resident, I have created this petition to raise awareness of the changes we need and if you are in Mutare and care to know what will happen next, please attend at the Hillside Golf club meetings and sign this petition. We need to stand together to make change happen and to make this city better again.

Personally I have tried to do my bit with our road cleanups and drainage in Jan/Feb, attempting to tackle waste and recycling issues and assisting where possible, I truly hope that this and the petition is also a way to make a difference.

LETTER TO MUTARE Town Clerk, Chamber Secretary and Public Relations:

Residents Concerns to Council

The residents held a consultative meeting on 6 March 2018. Council officials were invited to attend this meeting to respond to residents’ issues but no one attended except Councillor Jojo the ward 12 councillor. After deliberating on issues affecting them the residents have documented the following resolutions which they want Council to implement: While the meeting was in Ward 12, these issues are not restricted to this ward and the meeting had representation from several wards.

* We, the residents, demand Council reengage the impartial consultants  to revamp the Finance and Administration departments for efficiency and effectiveness. To assist with oversight of the 2018 budget, help and advise the compilation of the 2019 budget aligning them to the City’s master Plan. Residents insist that council finances this, by including it in their budget.

* Residents are disappointed that they are made to pay a refuse collection fee but Council has not been collecting refuse in their area. Council should with immediate effect (3 April 2018) resume refuse collection in all wards, and publish a route timetable. Failure of which residents will not pay the refuse collection levy and will in turn use the levy money to pay private refuse collectors.

* Residents are concerned with the state of roads in their wards and are demanding that Council with immediate effect attend to fix drainage systems and then fix the roads. Some of the roads are now impassable. Suggesting Council employ the services of a professional roads/drainage engineer who can deal with drainage system first rather than waste money on doing temporary repairs continually.

* Council should, with immediate effect, stop charging street lights levy as residents were not consulted on this extra burden.  No indication of targeted amounts and program of work has been availed to ratepayers thus implying an open ended levy! Therefore, money paid under this levy should be returned to those who had already paid.

* On Education Levy, residents demand to know how much has been collected and what the money has been used for, giving details of projects, contractors, tendered amounts etc. Residents are also keen to know when will the payment of this levy come to an end including how much is council targeting to collect. We demand clarification on why are ratepayers being targeted to pay this levy in the first place? Is it the responsibility of ratepayers to build schools?

* Residents are concerned that Council does not respond promptly to burst pipes resulting in the city losing water yet there are suburbs without water. Water leaking onto the road systems is further damaging our roads. Tied to that is the fact that residents are incurring costs in replacing damaged meters when dirty water passes through their pipes. The replacement of defected meters is the responsibility of Council and not the resident as penalties incur if these meters are tampered with by anyone other than authorized Council employees. We need to establish who owns these meters. It is imperative that “estimates” are abolished and that true readings are done.

* For accountability on who owes what to council, Council is urged to come up with a billing system that separates low density suburbs from the business district and high density Ward based with an accurate published debtors listing by ward. It is also noted that Council is not passing required credits where applicable thereby distorting this debtors listing. This fact has to be rectified so Council should do away with estimated billing and charge people using the accurate billing system.

* We insist that Council officials show residents and ratepayers due respect and take them seriously by attending residents meeting to clarify grey areas and get suggestions to build the city.

* Council Departmental Heads to use the City web site to provide ALL relevant current information, such as the Rates and Supplementary charges, levies, tenders offered and awarded etc.

Finally the residents resolved that If council does not address their concerns  as outlined above by Tuesday 3rd April 2018 they will institute a legal class action on any one or more of the above resolutions to force compliance and  they will stop paying levies to council during this legal process.

In addition, to the class action, individuals within Council will be included on a personal basis.

It was decided that a follow up meeting be held on 27th March 2018, with the Town Clerk and any other Council officials to respond to the above resolutions.