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Byo residents threaten rates payment boycott

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) has urged the Bulawayo City Council to quickly rectify its billing system before residents boycott paying their rates.

Residents have in the past weeks received inflated water bills ranging from ZWL$20 000 to ZWL$70 000.

The anomaly has been blamed on the use of estimated figures by the local authority.

In an interview with CITE on the Fix My City programme, BPRA secretary for administration, Thembelani Dube said residents would be forced to stop paying their bills if the council does not fix its billing system.

“As residents of Bulawayo we are very much concerned because the billing system is not reflecting what the residents are owing and we call upon BCC to quickly rectify that because if they continue billing us like that then at the end of the day as residents we will stop paying bills because it doesn’t make sense to try and settle or to clear bill of ZWL$20 000 only to receive another bill of ZWL$60 000 the following month, so it will be a futile exercise to do that,” said Dube.

Dube added that it doesn’t make sense for residents to continue paying bills if the problem is not being rectified.

“As Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association at the end of the day we may end up calling residents to stop paying if they continue receiving such high bills until the problem is rectified because it doesn’t make sense for one to continue paying bills and at the end of the day the other end service provider doesn’t rectify the challenges that residents are raising,” he said.

Dube said the problem started last year when Mpopoma residents started receiving shocking bills and the problem has since escalated to other suburbs.

He said on average households in western suburbs pay between ZWL$3 400 and ZWL$4 500 per month while those in eastern suburbs pay slightly more.

Meanwhile, a resident from Nketa who received a ZWL$24 000 bill said she would not be able to settle it and efforts to engage council officials has not yielded any positive results.

“I was shocked to receive a bill of ZWL$24 000, I am not employed, I am not sure what BCC is trying to do or if they employed incompetent people who are simply failing to do their job,” said an elderly resident.

“We are not going to pay these bills, the government should know that we are not going to pay because we don’t have the money unless they take action.”

Another resident urged the local authority to resume monthly meter readings so that residents are not shortchanged.

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