By Anyway Yotamu
The Zimbabwe National Organisation of Associations and Residents Trusts (ZNOART) is piling pressure on the Harare City Council to end corruption and improve service delivery.
In a statement to this publication, ZNOART National Chairperson Mr. Shalvar Chikomba said, “City Council officials and councillors have a major problem on their hands. The truth is they are struggling to come up with solutions hence turning councils as the worst service deliverers of the year from June 2019 to June 2020. Corruption is now rampant in councils to an extent that every council official or councillor is now a dealer in the allocation of stands.
“Sometimes in reserved and wetlands areas, some municipalities have manipulated Master plans left by their predecessors in order to enrich themselves by selling wetlands, recreational spaces and allocating car sales along major roads across the city”, said Chikomba.
Mr. Chikomba also added that “Council is beyond broke due to mismanagement of the little revenue they get. City Parking has officers who move around clamping vehicles whilst there is also a traffic department in the same council which does the same job. This is a duplication of duties at the expense of the ratepayer. This has to stop!,” said Chikomba.
ZNOART has outlined suggestions which council should take into consideration instead of commanding taxation on the 15% of residents who actually pay taxes and rates.
Chikomba argued that Council needs to work on growing its tax base to cover all 3 million-plus residents of Harare. He said these high charges will only increase the bills of defaulters, thus exacerbating the situation.
Suggestions which ZNOART gave Council are as follows :
1. Educating the residents on the importance of paying tax.
2. Door to door campaigns from each district office where residents can ask questions and engage with the council. This will also help build trust between the council and residents.
3. Enforcement of the city by laws that make payment of taxes non negotiable.
4. Address revenue leaks by illegal vendors, illegal settlements, unlicensed businesses, health, and other welfare inspections.
5. The law should be enforced to the fullest without fear or favour.
6. Instead, councils should rather not punish the law-abiding citizens who actually pay tax by increasing everything by 300%.
7. Avoid the selling of wetlands and reserved land that is giving rise to chaos.
Chikomba added: “As ZNOART we are going to make these councils answerable and accountable as we demand our rights to better and efficient service delivery for every resident.”