By Partinella Ngozo
Residents in Redcliff have condemned the proposed budget by the municipality council stating that it is too much for them with the current economic situation in the country since many people are unemployed and can not afford to pay their tariffs in full.
Since the closure of the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO), life in Redcliff has been on a standstill for many residents who were left unemployed with most opting to sell scrap metal for survival while some had to venture into illegal mining to irk a living. Paying tariffs has been a burden for most of the residents in Redcliff and with the proposed budget it will be more difficult to pay in full.
Mai Manjengwa as she is known at Simbi Park told this reporter that the Redcliff Municipal Council’s budget consultations are not useful. She said they just do consultations for the sake of it without the full intention of including the residents.
“What is the amount going to do? The difference is the same. These people have a problem, we are not even included in their plans, we don’t have the services they offer so we are going to watch and learn. The council is one sided. Their budget consultations are just a formality, they are corrupt officials,” she said. “The current economic situation has affected us tremendously, no matter how hard we try to look for money it is still difficult. Now the municipality is coming to us with this heft budget where do we get the money from. These people, do they even consider the situation that we live in or they think just because they can afford luxurious lives so can we? The tariffs are to high for us,” said a resident identified as Noel.
Stella Maenzanise, who is blind and hardly get money to sustain herself and her two children said there is need for the city council to consider the plight of people with disabilities in budget formulations. “The town authorities should formulate their budgets including us as well. How do they expect someone like me to pay the same amount as others when my source of income is far way less. I don’t work, I rely on begging from well wishers and it’s difficult to pay my tariffs,” she said.
Redcliff Municipal Council seeks to charge $3,40 for water for both low density and high-density areas while fixed water would be pegged at $1,00 across the board. Refuse is pegged at $1,00 for high density and $1,50 for low density while sewerage is pegged at $1,50 for high density and $2 for low. The council also proposed public lighting charges for high density at $0.75 cents and $2,00 for low density while fire charges have been pegged at 25 cents across the board.
Ward 6 councilor, Makanyara Pick said the budget is applicable because the community is expanding hence the need for such an amount. “We are expanding as a community so there is need for such an amount. However it is still a draft because we finished budget consultation meetings. We are still waiting to make amendments on the responses we managed to get from residents,” said Pick. Redcliff Municipality proposed a US$11million budget for 2021. Redcliff Mayor, Councilor Clayton Masiyatsva said that, although the budget was billed in US dollars, ratepayers were allowed to pay using local currency at prevailing rates. He said the council simply retained the 2020 budget. “We took the 2020 budget which was billed in local currency and we converted to US dollars to avoid of inflation which had eroded the budget this year,” said Masiyatsva.
Masiyatsva stated that they also seek to solve water woes which have been continued to hamper development in Redcliff for decades. “We intend to construct our own treatment plant which we will use to treat water for our residents. Of course, we will be getting the raw water from our sister local authority Kwekwe and we will treat for ourselves which is cheaper than receiving treated water,” he said. The budget is still yet to be finalised and many residents will be hoping that the amount pegged will be reduced so that they can afford to pay.