THE CASH-STRAPPED Masvingo City Council bid to generate revenue by reintroducing a $20 fine for littering has drawn the ire of residents who said it was hypocritical as the local authority was struggling to collect refuse and garbage was strewn all over the city.
Speaking at a meeting with residents, transporters and councillors, the council’s director of housing Zvapano Munganasa said they would impose the fine, which was suspended at the height of hyperinflation in 2008.
“We have started to intensify penalising people who will be found littering, both in town and in the residential areas. We will be demanding a $20 spot fine,” Munganasa said.
“Be it throwing banana peels, or a receipt from the ATM, we will be penalising that.
“We want to protect the environment and we realised that people in Masvingo do not litter when they go to other countries because of strict laws, but only do it here.”
However, Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers’ Association programmes co-ordinator Anotidaishe Muguti said the fine was too high and council needs to first conduct an awareness campaign before imposing any sanctions.
“Firstly, residents must be aware of the fine. Secondly, the amount is just too high. If they started by charging $5 it would be better and then raise it with time when residents are aware,” Muguti said.
“Thirdly, the council is not abiding by its timetable of collecting refuse and we feel this fine is just a fundraising gimmick.”
However, Munganasa said council was collecting garbage “religiously” and also warned that residents found dumping rubbish in residential areas would be penalised.
Council has been facing serious cashflow problems which have seen the local authority failing to pay workers’ salaries on time.