Outcry over rates hike

…..Mutare City Council justifies move

SYDNEY SAIZE IN MUTARE

Residents of Mutare City have raised disquiet over the recent 350% hike in rates by the council saying there should be no increases in light of the financial challenges imposed on residents that are already battling the Covid-19 pandemic, weak economy and low incomes.

The Mutare City Council hiked rates in its recent 2020 Supplementary Budget stating that it would cushion the council from the rising cost of goods and services as they require to keep the smooth running of the city.

But the Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Association, (MURRA) felt that the hike in rates was not necessary as residents were already overburdened.

“I do not see any justification in this, but otherwise the council’s need for fattening their purse at the expense of the residents and ratepayers,” MURRA director David Mutambirwa told Business Times.

Mthulisi Dube, the programmes officer for the United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers’ Trust, said residents were saddened by the development since not all people could afford to pay the new rates.

“What we see is a continuation of milking the already struggling residents, businesses and traders who are failing to make ends meet on a daily basis,” Dube said.

Former Mutare mayor and businessman Brian Lesley James said there was no consultation on the proposed hike with residents and businesses.

“We should have been consulted on the matter before this increase was done, but otherwise they chose to talk to some business organisations leaving out others that are not members to such institutions,” James said`.

The mayor for Mutare City, Blessing Tandi, however, justified the hike saying this would cushion the council from the rising cost of goods and services. He also said it was necessary for the smooth running of the city.

“What we have done is to make sure that we do not continue to hike the rates as was in the past,” Tandi said.

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