Shurugwi Town Council has proposed a 40 percent discount to ratepayers who settle their bills regularly as a way of encouraging them to clear their bills.
In an interview, town secretary Mr Solomon Siziba said the council has decided to make the offer after failing to recover more than $7 million it is owed by both residents and companies.
“As a council, we have proposed to strike 30 to 40 percent off the bills of individuals and companies that are constantly settling their water and rates bills as a way of encouraging other to come and settle their debts,” he said.
“We realised that it might be a good way of encouraging residents and companies to pay their bills regularly and on time. We are owed a total of $7,8 million by the ratepayers, and of that figure, residents owe $3,4 million, while the rest is owed by companies.
“As a council, we think this measure will help us recover the debt as we are struggling because of it.”
Mr Siziba said the mining town tried engaging debt collectors, but this did not yield any positive results. “We also wrote letters of demand to residents and ratepayers, but it also didn’t work.
“We only managed to recover 20 percent of our debt through prepaid meters, which we installed last year in the Central Business District (CBD).
“We only managed to install 365 prepaid meters and we will resume the project once we get funding.”
Meanwhile, the council has embarked on a clean-up campaign throughout the mining town and has also clamped down on vendors in a bid to avert a possible typhoid outbreak, council chairperson Mr Tsungai Makore has said.
A typhoid outbreak in Gweru has claimed eight lives so far, while hundreds of people were hospitalised for the contagious disease, amid fears it could spread to other neighbouring towns and cities.
In an interview recently, Mr Makore said Shurugwi town was within spitting distance of Gweru and the town authorities were doing everything to prevent the disease outbreak.
“Most people who live in Shurugwi work in Gweru and there is a possibility that the disease can be spread to the neighbouring town easily,” he said. Mr Makore said they were working on clearing vendors out of the streets, as well as regular refuse collection.
“We have this challenge of vendors all over the streets selling all sorts of wares and we have been trying to do away with them,” he said. “We also keep on encouraging the residents to be responsible and make sure they take hygienic measures and buy fruits and vegetables from shops.”
Elsewhere in the Midlands, newly elected Vungu Rural District Council chairperson for Ward 13 Cllr Morgan Zivhu has promised to transform the district.
In his acceptance speech after the swearing-in ceremony on Thursday last week, Cllr Zivhu, who was elected unopposed, said he was going to hit the ground running and escalate development in the district.
He said his council would be transparent, responsive and act in good faith.
He also pledged to fight corruption during his term.
“We will work hard to improve the service delivery and we want to promote transparency and we promise to develop infrastructure especially our roads which are in a poor state and they might continue to deteriorate as we approach the rain season,” said Cllr Zivhu .
Cllr Zivhu will be deputised by Mr Ngema Sibanda (Ward 5).
The rest of the council comprises Cllr Titus Ndlovu (Ward 1), Cllr Elias Mbiba (Ward 2), Cllr Samuel Msipa (Ward 3), Cllr Thomas Machaya (Ward 4), Cllr Proud Chuma (Ward 6) and Cllr Benjamin Mpala (Ward 7).
Cllr Spiwe Moyo (Ward 8), Cllr Saliston Paradza (Ward 9), Cllr Rester Musvere (Ward 10), Cllr Justin (Mushonga (Wward 11), Cllr Yeukai Paradezai (Ward 12), Cllr Collet Mawere (Ward 14), Cllr Zindani Mpofu (Ward 15), Cllr Nyika Parerenyatwa (Ward 16), Cllr Angelina Muganyi (Ward 17), Cllr Simbarashe Tatisa (Ward 18) and Cllr Albert Mahapa (Ward 19).