Vic Falls residents concerned over delay in electing mayor

Victoria Falls residents are concerned that the delay in electing a mayor and forming council committees will further cripple service delivery.

The resort city is struggling with water distribution and refuse collection owing to obsolete water equipment and a depleted fleet.

On Tuesday, residents blocked the election of mayor and deputy, citing displeasure in dictatorial tendencies by Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa, who allegedly handpicked his mayoral candidate.

The local authority had planned to start the budgeting process for next year, hoping the selection of the mayor would have been done and different committees set.

A finance committee is the one, working with the finance director, that spearheads the budget-making process.

The city management has postponed the first stage of the budget process to next week.

“The city of Victoria Falls wishes to inform its residents and stakeholders that the due date for submission of 2024 budget input has been extended to the 30 of September 2023,” said Town Clerk Ronnie Dube.

Residents can submit their views at city council offices in Chinotimba, Mkhosana, and the town office, and also online.

Victoria Falls is facing financial challenges, with revenue collections for the current financial year less than 50% due to low payment of bills and rates by ratepayers and residents.

Last year, the city crafted a US$20 million budget, and treasurer Neville Ndlovu recently told stakeholders at a mid-year budget review meeting that collections as from January until June this year were less than half of what had been billed for.

Victoria Falls Combined Residents Association chair Kelvin Moyo said delaying in choosing a mayor will affect service delivery.

“Residents have made their expectations clear and we only expect the council and the political parties to respect that. What we want is quality service delivery and the more we delay having a mayor and committees the more our city suffers in terms of service delivery,” he said.

Residents have said they would rather have a commission than have imposed people.

Herbert Ncube, from the Hwange District Residents Association, said residents will monitor proceedings in council.

The Town Clerk said the council will seek guidance from the government on the way forward.

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