The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) strongly disagrees with the proposal by the President of Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) and Mayor of Harare, Councilor Bernard Manyenyeni to hand over water bills collection to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA).
In as much as we appreciate the fact that residents should pay for services offered by the council, we remain opposed to the prepaid water meter program for various reasons chief among them being the fact that they will take away citizens’ right to water.
Pre-paid water meters are certainly undesirable given the current comatose economy in Zimbabwe which has relegated the majority into poverty.
In our earlier engagements, particularly our last meeting in 2016 on the issue of pre-paid water meters, the Mayor of Harare, Councilor Bernard Manyenyeni stated clearly that the Harare City Council was implementing a pre-paid water meter pilot project in Sunningdale and other parts of the Avenues area.
The pilot project report has not been unveiled up to now and for us, this is a clear indication of the failures of the pre-paid water meter project.
The pre-paid water meter project surely cannot go ahead before the results of the pilot project have been presented.
On the ZESA issue, it must be noted that there are obvious administrative burdens and leakages that come with handing over rates collection to another government entity that is already saddled with its administrative malpractices including corruption.
At a time the City of Harare is fighting hard to have its mandate of administering road user funds returned from the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA), it boggles the mind why such a contradictory policy would be proposed.
The proposed policy by Mayor Manyenyeni has the potential to lock the funds of the council in an institution which has less accountability.
We vehemently oppose Mayor Manyenyeni’s proposal as it is against the spirit of devolved governance.