In a budget announcement done by Harare City Council Finance chairperson Councillor Costa Mande announced proposed USD council rates for 2023. The rates can still be paid in the RTGS equivalent at the prevailing interbank however they will be steep. Really close to the USD150 that the government announced as minimum wage.
The USD rates for Harare City council for 2023
|High-Density Suburb||Medium-Density Suburb||Low-Density Suburb|
|Monthly rates fees starting at||US$23.15||US$77.30||US$113.30|
|Monthly water fees (first 5 cubic meters)||US$5.15||US$8.30||US$8.30|
|Monthly refuse collection fees||US$8||US$11||US$11|
|Monthly sewer charges||US$4||US$6||US$6|
|Total expected monthly council bill per household||US$40.30||US$102.60||US$138.60|
Granted in some suburbs some costs won’t be as high for example water in areas where council water is but a legend and sewer in areas where septic tanks are employed instead of sewer lines. But up to US$130 seems like it’s going to be a tough ask for a lot of home residents. This might also further raise rentals across the board which was already sky-high in Harare.
What’s also going to be the issue is that for a while now, service delivery has been close to non-existent, especially on refuse collection and the state of the roads. These same residents being asked to pay the council for these services are the same residents using their own resources to provide a solution for the disposal of refuse, water supply, and roads.
This will increase the rate of defaulters
It’s a shared thought amongst Harare residents that it seems unfair to pay for services that are not being delivered. And it’s also a bit of a chicken and egg situation because the council also states that they cannot deliver because rates are not being paid. In April of 2022, the City of Harare stated that it is owed to the tune of ZW$17 billion in unpaid rates, even threatening to convert those arrears to USD for residents that fail to make payment plans with them.
Council is owed in excess of $17 billion in local currency. The money is losing value daily as it remains resident with the residents. When residents make payment plans to settle their bills, they “should ensure they pay their current monthly bills in addition to agreed settlement amount”. Head Communications Mr Michael Chideme said failure to pay bills was affecting service delivery as the city was finding it difficult to procure necessary resources like garbage trucks, road equipment and other items needed to provide services to the people.City Of Harare
If residents are failing to pay the current tariffs then it does not look good for the council in its effort to get every resident to be current with their bills. Maybe the few that are already current will somewhat offset the deficit from the many that are not paying. But if the service is not available it’s going to make it harder for residents to commit to payment.