BULAWAYO City Council’s (BCC) finance and development committee chairperson Tawanda Ruzive said the local authority had started implementing measures to resolve issues raised by residents over the water billing system that appears to be generating high bills.
Ruzive told Southern Eye that they have received petitions from residents over the matter and that they are now moving fast, starting this month, to decentralise the payment system so that those with queries can be attended to instantly.
“We value the petitions, we accept them because we say most of our bills are estimated, they are not as accurate as they should be, we have already made an intervention to say let’s go to the people, let’s avail ourselves there so that payments can be done at residents level. If ever there are mistakes they can be corrected instantly as a measure of problem solving,’’ Ruzive said.
He said by the end of this month there would be BCC till points in most popular supermarkets in their locations so that residents can easily access their accounts and be able to bring their own meter readings every end of the month to ensure that they get accurate figures in sync with their water consumption levels.
“We have procured five vehicles that will assist us moving meter readers and other logistics in the finance department. We have enough meter readers to cover 50% of the city every month but there has never been uniformity. Almost 40% every month is estimated. The other factor that pushes these water bills high is the interbank rate that has not been constant,’’ Ruzive said.
He indicated that they have realised that most of their offices are not user friendly, particularly to the elderly who cannot afford to come to pay their bills in the city centre every month.
He encouraged residents to attend the budget consultative meetings.
Mzilikazi resident association representative Thandekile Moyo said they successfully handed over their petition over the high bills last week in line with a resolution which was made by all the 29 wards in the city.