KARIBA residents and the local authority could be heading for a show down after the latter introduced a new billing system leading to an increase in monthly bills.
On April 1 this year, the Kariba Municipality passed a resolution which it said was set to address inflation with residents and ratepayers now having an option of paying their bills either in US dollars or equivalent in local currency.
However, since the introduction of the system, some residents are now paying as much as US$170 from as little as US$15 per month. In a notice to council yesterday, Kariba Urban Residents Association (KURA) chairperson Tapiwa Taonameso described the new tariffs as unrealistic.
“In response to the action taken by our council to raise tariffs, it came as a surprise and it will remain a thorn in the flesh for many residents,” Taonameso said.
“KURA is hereby giving the Mayor of Kariba a three-day ultimatum to give us a better position that will answer all the raised questions by residents.”
He, however, called on residents to be patient while KURA officials were engaging the authorities.
He also bemoaned the silence from councillors over the matter.
In response, Kariba Mayor Ralph Maoneyi said council would convene a meeting this week to look into the new billing issue.
“We hope to then communicate a position collectively agreed between policymakers and the technical element of council, which we hope to be progressive for all citizens.
“We hope it will help us collectively re-rail the progressive principles of inclusive policy, inclusive responsibility by citizens and inclusive progress for all. While the authority is pressed with the need to provide service and maintain a happy workforce, a healthy ecosystem must also include a happy citizenry. That balance is key and where it’s lost, it must be restored,” he said.
In a statement issued on Friday last week, Kariba town clerk Richard Kamhoti said the tariffs have been changed on a monthly basis proportionate with the inflation movement from the last bill rating since January this year.
“These two strategies are meant to cushion the council from hyperinflation, while the inflation adjustment would address the unpaid dues and billing rate addressing the value of the budgeted tariff,” he added.