‘Shock’ water bills irk Pumula residents

Bulawayo residents continue to complain that they are receiving high water bills with some running into millions of dollars.

Seven Pumula North residents recently revealed that the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) billed them over a million each, an amount they are unable to pay.

To that end, the affected residents and many others who have been receiving astronomical bills – a problem blamed on the council’s billing system – have engaged their councillor, Sikhululekile Moyo to intervene.

Speaking during a report feedback meeting on Wednesday where she was giving residents an update on the billing system, councillor Moyo said she took it upon herself to go and verify the water bill statements at Tower Block.

“What came out is that some houses were over-billed, you find someone in Pumula North paying ZWL$1 400 000 which is something we don’t expect even if a resident has a debt. Another resident had a debt of ZWL$4 000 000.

“That is a challenge I noticed and have to inquire further on how we get bills to ZWL$4 000 000, this is a shocker to residents. They even realised that the billing is not ok because no resident can have such a debt, it shows that there was a problem somewhere,” Cllr Moyo.

She however said the local authority was now working on adjusting the bills.

“There were seven bills like that and the council is going to adjust them, there has been a challenge since May 2022 when the local authority started indexing, and from there people were not billed correctly,” she said.

Councillor Moyo said 95 percent of the residents who had brought their statements had genuine concerns.

“The challenge is that residents were not aware of the correct amount to pay, some were making low payments while others were skipping months. Others were not making payments at all so that money was accumulating. I took the opportunity to explain to them individually how the city council bills them,” she said.

Ward 17 councillor commended residents for speaking out about their water bills as they might have paid debts they didn’t incur.

“I am sure all residents had the same grievances, I am sure other councillors are also doing this exercise in different wards as we observed that residents have been complaining about the billing system,” said Cllr Moyo.

However, some residents said they were still not satisfied with the outcome.

“I am still confused about their billing. This bank rate system is also disadvantageous to us,” said Marerwa, a resident. 

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