BY OBERT SIAMILANDU
KARIBA Municipality has hiked rates by 320%, less than three months after another increase.
The municipality raised rates by 280% in the last quarter of 2021 after a supplementary budget before the latest increase, which has left residents of the resort town shell-shocked.
The hike has, however, been approved by the Local Government ministry.
“The municipality wishes to advise its valued residents and stakeholders that the 2022 budget was approved by the Local Government minister on January 19, 2022,” a council statement read.
“This is after a team from Kariba made a presentation to the minister on January 17 and 18, 2022. Hence, the council is, hereby, notifying the implementation of the same budget with effect from today January 24, 2022.”
Kariba Urban Residents Association (Kura) spokesperson Samson Coffee described the increases as “suicidal”.
“We rejected the tariff increases as Kura during the budget formulation process. It is unfortunate that the Kariba council is taking advantage of residents after the budget processes by not engaging them to give their opinions and contributions. About 80% of people in Kariba are in the informal sector and are struggling to survive,” Coffee said.
“This rates increase of more than 500% is a mockery to residents that earn less than US$100 per month, yet they are expected to pay US$88 bills per month. This means that residents have to pay all their earnings to council.”
He said Kura would engage the Local Government ministry over the increases on behalf of residents.
Kariba Incorporated Area Residents Ratepayers Association founder Samu Mawawo said: “What we are seeing is a sign of betrayal by people whom we put in council office. These figures are not normal and should be reviewed.”