Yeukai Karengezeka and Blessings Chidakwa
Harare residents have rejected the $829,8 million supplementary budget approved by council on Thursday which will come into effect on August 1 this year.
The residents said the municipality had jumped the gun as they proposed a supplementary budget when the initial one was yet to be approved by Government. Harare increased charges for clamping and towing of vehicles by over 1 000 percent a move that will see motorists paying $500 as wheel-clamping fees for light vehicles, up from $40.
Tow-away fees have been increased from $60 to $700. In the health sector, the city is expecting to realise $14, 6 million with maternity fees increased from $25 to $120. Hospital fees are now $50 for adults and $25 for children. Harare Residents Trust has said the approved budget is far from what residents contributed.
“Initially residents were against the idea of supplementary budget although the economic situation has deteriorated. Looking at the amounts council is being owed by residents, Government institutions and industry and think they will clear their arrears because of this new budget is being naive.
“The amount of debt owed by ratepayers will actually increase seven fold because the majority of them operate in the informal sector,” said HRT director Mr Precious Shumba.
He said the raising the clamping rates ten times was not going to end the shortage of parking space in the central business district.
“In fact it presents an opportunity for the city parking marshals to increase their daily bribes that they take home because a few people will be able to pay the new tariffs. The charge on any service should not be out of reach of many users,” said Mr Shumba.
More to follow…