BY BLONDIE NDEBELE
BULAWAYO residents have started receiving shock bills following a recent announcement by the local authority to index service charges in United States dollars.
The announcement was met with a public outcry, with the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association writing to the local authority challenging the decision.
The Local Government ministry has also said it was not consulted.
Days after the announcement, residents from the eastern suburbs of Bulawayo have received bills reflecting a 330% increase compared to last month.
The bills were dated May 2022.
Residents took to social media to voice their concerns.
“Ours jumped from $8 600 to
$29 000,” said one resident.
“I also received a ridiculous bill with an increase from $9 500 to $31 000,” lamented another resident.
“How do they expect the public to pay these high rates, a lot of them do not even earn what the council is asking for.”
Other residents proposed boycotting payment of rates, while others threatened to take the local authority to court.
Both mayor Solomon Mguni and his deputy Mlandu Ncube were not reachable for comment yesterday.
However, councillors on Monday rejected the proposed realigned tariffs set by the council management.
The councillors argued that the proposed charges were too exorbitant compared to the multi-currency regime that was in place during 2009 to 2013 period where residents in western areas paid an average of US$20 per month.