Byo residents to pay refuse bag rates

BULAWAYO residents will soon be paying refuse bags rates, on top of the monthly refuse removal charges under a pilot project mooted by the cash-strapped local authority.

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

Council is piloting the project in Emganwini high density suburb, where residents are supplied with refuse bags by the local authority at a cost.

The programme, if successful, will be rolled out on a full scale across the whole city.

council truck Council last year embarked on a pilot community refuse collection programme that saw the local authority using vehicles owned by residents to collect refuse in residential areas.

Councillors want the refuse bags cost incorporated into ratepayers’ monthly bills, a suggestion opposed by some since “residents are already paying for refuse removal every month”.

“Councillor Rodney Jele sought clarification on refuse bags, saying council had run short of these in Nkulumane,” read the minutes.

“This was a challenge to old people who could not afford to buy them. In view of this, he requested that council sources donations to assist the old residents.”
Some councillors felt the new levy would be tantamount to paying twice for one service.

“Councillor Clyton Zana was against the sale of refuse bags to residents, preferring that the costs be incorporated into the monthly rates/rents. Should the project be rolled to other wards it would pose challenges to many residents,” the minutes read.

“Councillor Silas Chigora was concerned about billing residents for refuse bags, saying that residents were already paying for refuse removal. When the project was initiated, the understanding was that it would result in savings to council.”

Council last year embarked on a pilot community refuse collection programme that saw the local authority using vehicles owned by residents to collect refuse in residential areas.

This followed concerns over an increase in illegal dumpsites in residential areas in the city, largely due to failure by council to regularly collect refuse.

“Councillor Nephat Sibanda’s view was that residents would buy the bags as and when the need arose. Council would then supply and bill those who could not afford to buy them in cash,” the minutes said.

Councillor Norman Hlabani said residents in Ward 26 were in full support of the project, as the cost of refuse was not an issue.

Councillor James Sithole concurred, saying this was a pilot project and a detailed technical report on its progress would be submitted to council in due course.

“Thereafter council could then make an informed decision on the way forward,” the minutes said.

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