Yeukai Karengezeka Municipal Correspondent
Harare City Council is under fire from residents after it engaged a private company, Clean City Africa, to start collecting refuse in some selected suburbs and charge ratepayers directly, yet it is still charging the same ratepayers for refuse collection.
The development also comes at a time when residents are aggrieved by the local authority, which has been struggling to collect refuse.
The waste management solutions company flighted an advert in the press on Tuesday informing residents that it had partnered with HCC to collect refuse for a monthly fee of $19,50 for high-density suburbs and $28,50 for medium and low-density suburbs.
The selected suburbs are Alexandra Park, Avenues, Avondale, Belvedere, Borrowdale, Cranborne, Eastlea, Greendale, Southerton, Mbare, Mt Pleasant, Tafara, Waterfalls, Westgate, Hatcliffe, Hatfield, Highlands, Mabelreign and Mabvuku.
In an interview, Zimbabwe Combined Residents and Ratepayers Association (Zicora) president Mr Stephen Nyabvure said the city had to stop charging residents for refuse service as a matter of urgency.
“While we appreciate the idea of keeping the city clean it is grossly unfair and illegal for Harare residents to pay double for refuse collection and this has to be addressed urgently,” he said.
“If it has indeed engaged this partner then it must stop charging residents.”
Mr Nyabvure said the city must make clean deals to avoid corruption and should communicate such developments to residents.
“We urge the City of Harare not to make deals clandestinely as this has the effect of antagonising ratepayers,” he said. “We know that Harare never wanted other stakeholders to collect refuse on its behalf but due to lobbying by other stakeholders such as Higher Life Foundation it has succumbed to pressure.
According to the advert, Clean City Africa advised residents who wish to get their service to register to get bin liners.
It also noted that the City of Harare will continue collecting refuse in all other residential areas not included on the list.
Contacted for comment over the double billings, HCC corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said the city was going to address the matter soon.
“We are still negotiating a payment method and who to pay to,” he said. “Negotiations are still on and once everything is concluded we will notify residents on what to do though currently there is a proposal to pay directly to Clean City Africa using EcoCash platform,” he said.