By Marcus Matambirofa
Council workers are reportedly demanding US$1 or the RTGS equivalent from Budiriro residents as bribes in order to stop disconnecting water supplies for non-payment of rates.
Most residents in Budiriro are not up to date with their Council bills and the authorities have been disconnecting water in the suburb.
One resident, Mr Nyati of House Number 7824 Miti Crescent said that “Council officials are going around disconnecting water supply in Budiriro 4 demanding US$1 dollar from household owners to avoid water cuts”.
“My wife refused to give a cent and so they disconnected my water supply in spite of the fact that I have paid up my water bills “.
Another resident also alleged the water bills were misrepresenting the amounts owed to the Council.
“The figures which are appearing on the water bill are not accurate and seem to disregard early payments made to the council”.
Harare City Council (HCC) has been struggling to provide bills to ratepayers owing to billing system glitches.
Harare City Council principal communications officer Mr Innocent Ruwende said this was being caused by the new system’s small server which was reportedly being upgraded.
“The system is a bit slow due to a small server and the necessary upgrading is in progress.
“The October bills are now being worked on. Due to the input of new tariffs introduced by the supplementary budget, the process has been delayed,” he said.
City fathers decided to ditch the BIQ billing system after it became too expensive to maintain last year.
The local authority was paying US$363 000 annually for rights to use the system.
The BIQ system had been supplied by a local agent, Group View Technology, on behalf of a South African developer, Quill Associates.
They have since adopted a SAGE system through engagement with Enterprise Resource Planning.
Council is disconnecting water supply on residents as it seeks to raise money for its service delivery duties which have suffered acutely leading to accusations of dereliction of duty from the citizens.