By Mary Mundeya
Mufakose residents have accused the Mufakose Municipal District of robbing them in broad daylight through the use of an unreliable billing system which has seen them charged exorbitant rates.
The residents are alleging that the municipality no longer collects monthly meter readings but by the end of the month, they receive council papers with rates amounting to $40 and above.
One disgruntled resident of Crowborough North showed this publication how their meter reading was different from the water bill they received and accused the Municipality of robbery.
“We are being robbed in daylight by the council, as you can see my meter reads 087344 but here on the paper it reads 087444″, she said.
Another Mufakose resident complained of how service delivery has also been very poor despite the amounts of money that are being collected.
“It has now been 2 months since we last saw the refuse trucks and, this will make us end up throwing litter at undesignated places”.
Efforts to get hold of the responsible authorities were fruitless.
However, a council official who chose to speak on condition of anonymity confirmed that they have not been collecting meter readings due to a change of software which they were previously using and accustomed to.
“For past 20 years we have been using a system called BIQ which was fast and easy to use, but the vendor of the system dropped us due to unpaid usage of the system, we have now switched to the Sage system”.
“This one is more complicated and less effective than the BIQ that is why we are not collecting meter readings and printing of paper since the new system needs to be fed up with details of every resident which is time-consuming”, he said.
Officially, City Council ditched the BIQ billing system citing the system’s failure to deliver the functionality of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to the city and high costs associated with running it.
In Mufakose, the derelict state of some water meters has also worsened the situation as some residents in Mufakose are said not to be paying rates whilst others are using pre-independence designed meters.
“Some of the meters in areas such as Mufakose and Glenview are archaic as they were designed during the Ian Smith era and some no longer function well that’s why the council wanted to introduce smart water meter to get rid of bad debtors”, the official said.
Council this week promised to embark on a debt collection blitz as it aims to raise money from the more than $900 million which it is owed by residents, business and parastatals.