Councillors fear lawsuits over estimated water bills

Bulawayo councillors are worried about possible legal action from residents arising from using estimated figures to bill residents. 

This came out during the latest Fill Council Meeting as the councillors debated on the high bills that were being charged to the residents.

Despite the issue having been topical on several occasions during the monthly council meetings, no solution has been offered yet. 

The councillors highlighted that the council must consider that residents are currently undergoing a 120-hour water-shedding schedule and for others, a month can lapse without any running water from their taps. 

Ward 6 Councillor, Nkosilathi Hove-Mpofu, inquired whether charging residents based on estimates could attract legal action and if it had been checked and cleared.

He further questioned why the council was still using almost the same estimates as before water shedding.

Ward 17 councillor, Sikhululekile Moyo, who initiated the debate, noted that residents in her ward were complaining about receiving the same bills amid severe water cuts, as they were getting at a time when they had access to water daily.

“Your Worship, the residents are not happy with these bills. They get water a few times a month yet their bills are just the same, in some cases more. They were suggesting that the council gives them a fixed bill that resonates with the few times that they get water,” Cllr Moyo said. 

“They even suggested that maybe studies can be carried out for those who have Jojo tanks so that the specific amounts can be calculated accordingly, based on how much water the various households consume. What they do not understand is paying the same bills whether there is water-shedding or not.”

Ward 18 Cllr, Felix Madzana, suggested a timeframe for the finance committee to address the matter, and Ward 9 Cllr, Donaldson Mabuto, requested a detailed report on the exorbitant bills.

However, Ward 25 Cllr, Aleck Ndlovu, noted that there is a need to educate residents that there are fixed charges from the council that come with their water bills, which are not affected by the availability of water. 

“Your Worship, there are other fixed rates such as sewer, the rates for the land occupied and other related rates, that are independent of the availability of water daily. The residents must understand that those rates will be billed every month without fail. As much as we understand their plight, we must educate them on how these bills are structured,” Cllr Ndlovu said. 

City mayor, Ward 4 Cllr David Coltart, explained that estimated billing shouldn’t be an excuse for not paying bills. Specific cases should be investigated, and adjustments made so everyone pays the correct bill.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also
Back to top button