FLASH floods that affected Harare’s Budiriro five extension and Chitungwiza have exposed local authorities for poor service delivery, amid debate on whether urban councils have reached an all-time low.
35 year old Esther Gwaze is one of the 200 residents from Budiriro 5 extension whose houses were severely affected by the flash floods that hit the area three weeks ago.
Even though the rains have subsided, her house is no longer safe due to saturation overland flow, leading to seepage on a daily basis.
“Mvura yakapinda mumba zvekusvika mumabvi umu. Chinorwadza ndechekuti mastands aya takapihwa necouncil. Tobhadhara every month mabills. Takamboedza kutaura navo asi hapana akatinzwa,” she said.
The skeletons are falling out of the closet, as families now face the sad reality of losing out on their life savings after they were allocated land on wetlands.
Information obtained by ZBC News revealed that most of the residents have already paid the land intrinsic value to the Harare City Council.
The payments include refuse collection and water connection fees, even though the local authority does not provide such services.
The affected residents are having none of it amid claims of high levels of ineptitude and lethargy by the local authority.
“Takauya kuno 2012 ende patakapihwa nzvimbo ino takapihwa necouncil. Asi mukatarisa pano pane imba yangu it’s less than 60 meters kubva parwizi ende dzimwe dzimba dziri Pedyo nemahigh voltage electric pylons. Zvinoitawo here.
“Mapapers ese tinawo anoratidza kuti nzvimbo ino takapihwa necouncil aripo. Iko zvino zvinorwadza kuti after this investment takaputsa dzimba dzedu,” they said.
As unpleasant details involving allocation of stands on undesignated areas emerge, a number of issues highlighting poor service delivery by local authorities have remained topical for years dating back to the turn of the millennium.
Uncollected garbage has become a permanent feature.
Roads continue to deteriorate as city fathers turn a blind eye on the unfolding crisis.
A probe with council officials on the current state of affairs yields very minimal answers.
“I cannot say it is lethargy but what we can say is there is a need to investigate what happened in Budiriro 5 extension. On the issue of roads and refuse, we currently do not have the resources and this is why we continue to have problems like now we do not have fuel at our depot,” he said.
While the city fathers defend their position, questions have been raised on how they continue to collect revenue from these illegal settlements without any remorse.