Residents breathe fire over water meter test charges 

Source: Residents breathe fire over water meter test charges – The Southern Eye

GWERU residents have come out guns blazing over council’s decision to increase water meter testing charge in next year’s budget.

The local authority intends to hike the residential water meter testing charge from US$24,06 to US$40, while it has maintained the industrial and commercial water meter testing charge at US$347,56.

Speaking at a ward 11 budget consultation meeting last weekend, residents said it was insensitive for council to increase the water meter testing tariff.

“This is insensitive given that residents are struggling to settle their bills yet council intends to increase the water meter testing charge to US$40,” said former councillor and ward 11 resident Silas Furo.

Other residents concurred saying the charge was exorbitant and should be scrapped.

Ward 11 councillor Albert Chirau said it was council’s duty to make sure that water meters were functional; hence there was no reason for charging for meter testing.

“There is no need to charge the US$40 for water meter testing,” he said. “Council has technical people, they should just test the water meters for free. There is no need to punish residents for non-functional water meters.”

Meanwhile, Gweru residents said council should speed up the introduction of a ward retention fund to help it develop infrastructure at ward level.

Chirau said councillors were pushing for the ward retention scheme which should be implemented next year.

“Come 2023, a ward retention scheme where council remits a certain percentage paid by residents should be in place and as councillors, we have pushed for that facility,” he said.

Last year, Gweru United Progressive Residents and Ratepayers Development Association Trust executive director David Chikore told Southern Eye that council should remit 10% of revenue collected in each ward to be used for developmental purposes, which is usually not prioritised in the local authority’s capital budget.

At the time, he indicated that residents sold the idea (of a ward retention fund) to council in 2017 and again in 2019, but the local authority ignored the proposal.

In 2017, the City of Harare passed a resolution to ensure a 25% retention fund would be given back to wards for development.

Last year, residents dragged council to court after it failed to remit the funds.