Gweru residents have resolved to protest against Gweru City Council through payment of their debts to reduce their arrears owed to the authority next month.
This was resolved during a resident’s consultative meeting held at the YCWA hall in Mkoba on Saturday.
Residents said they are being denied the opportunity to gradually clear their debts, with the council demanding a half down payment first, which most can’t afford as some owe up to thousands of dollars.
GCC is currently owed millions of dollars by Gweru residents and the business community which the authority says is crippling service delivery.
Speaking after the meeting, Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) president Cornelia Selipiwe said residents have made a resolution to go to the Municipality offices in their numbers to show commitment to paying their debts and contribute small amounts they can to reduce their arrears.
“We were here on a feedback and consultative meeting where Gweru residents have said they want to show that they are responsible citizens who want to pay their dues.
“Residents who have arrears have resolved to meet at the Gweru Municipality offices in town on the 10th of March at 10 am, in their numbers, to clear their current charges and pay the little monies they can to reduce their debts,” he said.
Selipiwe however said council should help residents by putting their billing system in order to avoid over charging leading to residents’ apathy to honour their dues.
Most residents accused Gweru Council of having an unreliable and rotten billing system, during the meeting, which is marred by overcharging, irregularities and inconsistences.
Finance Director Mr Edgar Mwedzi in one of the meetings with residents once assured that no monies will be turned down towards debt payments, which residents however say is not happening on the ground.
“I went to council with $200 to clear part of my debt but they refused to accept the money demanding half of what I owe, if you look at me where do you see a thousand dollars?
” I can’t raise that much but can manage to pay gradually and they don’t want that,” said one resident identified as Tsitsi Tobaiwa.
Currently the city council is collecting an average of $1.3 million per month instead of $2.4 million with more than a $1 million accumulating in arrears monthly.
GweruGweru Residents and Rate Payers Association (GRRA)