Rates increase create new tension between residents, council | Suburban


I was collecting rent for my Mom and the tenant complained that when they went to pay Harare’s municipal rates based on the statement they got, there was a balance remaining which was double what was billed. To fix it, my mom would have to go to Morton Jaffry (the water plant) and get them to reconcile the statement. I thought it was whatevs but I heard more people complaining about this so I found this article to start a discussion. I know it’s Zimpapers, but it’s something I can link to.

It’s a toxic mix of people not paying leading to poor service which the city attempts to address by raising rates leading to less people paying making service worse and so on. All made worse by a people who have been conditioned to expect miracles which will drastically reduce their bills (through hyperinflation) or completely wiped out to garner votes. It also doesn’t help that their payment system has been utterly broken and they refuse to fix it. The statements are also always wrong as well. In the midst of this is endless finger pointing between the opposition led city and the central government are a lot of people struggling to get by in the former “Jewel of Africa”. Clearly the situation is untenable.

Honestly, I’m not sure what the endgame is and I don’t know how to fix it given that so many people benefit from the status quo. I guess the best thing we can do is adopt a Strong Towns approach which relies on incremental changes over time, improving street by street and neighborhood by neighborhood. Not as sexy has hoping get the billion’s of dollars required to restore Harare to its formerly “jewel” status (which we shouldn’t), but it’s more sustainable. Actually, if anyone gives a shit about Harare, heck any African city, I’d recommend reading Strong Towns, starting with this post on what to do if you realize you’re insolvent.