By Anyway Yotamu
Local authorities have been accused of robbing residents in broad daylight by hiking service fees without delivering basic amenities in spite of paying parking fees, water bills, and tollgate fees among others, a residents lobby group said.
Addressing a press conference in Harare, the Chairman of Zimbabwe National Organisation of Associations and Residents Trust (ZNOART) Mr. Shepherd Chikomba said local authorities are failing to provide residents with adequate water despite allocations of foreign currency from the Finance Ministry.
“The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is on record saying that local authorities are receiving allocations of foreign currency for water treatment chemicals but local authorities continue to cite lack of chemicals as their reason for failing to provide residents with water,” said Chikomba
Drilling of boreholes in metropolitan areas, Chikombo said, is not enough to ensure residents access clean water.
“Drilling boreholes in urban areas is not enough to ensure access to safe running water by residents. Many of the boreholes were drilled by numerous NGOs while local authorities are busy holding meaningless workshops in expensive hotels. What’s worse, most of these hotel venues are outside areas of jurisdiction of respective local authorities as a strategy to shamelessly line their pockets with hefty allowances,” he said.
Chikombo added that corruption in municipalities is very serious hence officials are taking advantage and selling residential stands to their relatives and immediate family members .
“In their bid to raise funds to appease their appetites for a luxurious life, councils are corruptly selling stands at exorbitant prices, without taking cognizance of the impact of their actions on the well-being of residents. In their wisdom or lack of it, councils corruptly authorise land barons to parcel out the land before regularisation and receiving kickbacks behind the scenes from such criminals,” he said.t
Most councils across the country have been on the limelight of corruption which includes mainly Harare City Council and Gweru over allocation of land in urban settlements.