CHITUNGWIZA Town Council is losing millions of dollars from potential rate payers who are not registered on the local authority’s database, TSTNews has learnt.
By Taurai Bvumo
This was revealed by Chitungwiza Acting Town Clerk Dr Tonderai Kasu who said there were 41 000 households in the dormitory town that are not on the local authority’s database.
Kasu told TSTNews that this situation has been caused by the phenomenon of mushrooming illegal settlement and land barons.
“There is an additional 41 thousand households that are not in the Municipal property data base that are not contributing to Council’s revenue base but these are all people that still rely on Council to provide them services,” Kasu told TSTNews.
Kasu reiterated that land barons in Chitungwiza were in a massive land grab and this had prejudiced the council in return.
“Land barons have been illegally parcelling out land that does not belong to them to desperate home seekers, and once these people are illegally settled, they require services from Council, even though they are not contributing to Council’s revenue base,” told TSTNews.
He said this had in turn led to the deterioration of service as the council ends up offering services to people who are not paying for them.
“Informal settlers produce solid waste which accumulates in the form of illegal dumps, and the Municipality has an obligation to collect garbage from these illegal settlements that are not paying for refuse collection to prevent outbreaks of diseases that will potentially spread to other areas where residents are paying for the services,” Kasu said.
“Pregnant mothers and sick babies from these illegally created households come to our municipal clinics expecting and receive health services yet these illegally created households are not contributing to the municipal rates and property taxes that are supposed to fund these health services
“There are also households from these illegal settlements that are illegally connecting themselves to the municipal water system and are therefore receiving treated water for free, Kasu told TSTNews.
Local authorities in Zimbabwe have been incurring huge costs from land barons who are at the height of grabbing land using their political muscles.
TSTNews understands that Chitungwiza has not been spared from this activity with most of the perpetrators yet to be prosecuted for the demage done.
In most cases the land barons who have illegally distributed land had backing from Government officials during elections.
However, the same land barons are at the forefront of demanding quality service delivery.