Home » Governance » Masvingo Residents Protest Poor Services

SCORES residents staged a demonstration at the Masvingo council offices last week protesting poor service delivery and alleged corruption in the country’s oldest urban settlement.

The demonstration, staged last Friday, took a nasty turn when town clerk, Adolf Gusha, was briefly held hostage by the residents as he received their petition.

Gusha was only rescued following the intervention of municipal police officers who managed to free him from the baying mob.

“You are not going back to your office until you have revealed how much you and other managers are earning from council,” shouted one of the placard-waving protestors.

The demonstration was organized by the Masvingo Residents and Rate payers Association (MURRA).

Chief among the residents’ grievances was the delay by the local authority to complete upgrading the city’s main sewer line.

The project is estimated to cost about $3 million. The funding was sourced from NSSA and released into council coffers last year.

Water and sewer bursts have become the order of the day in most high density suburbs of Masvingo as the infrastructure has become too old and also ill-suited to cope with the ever increasing population.

According to council officials, the reticulation system was designed to cater for 10,000 people but the city’s population has ballooned to over 100,000 in recent years.

The residents also demanded demand that council to stop hiring vehicles for managers from the Central Mechanical Department (CMED) at a cost of about $42,000 a week.

“We have council services vehicles attached by the deputy sheriff over a labour dispute with shop floor workers yet council is forking out large sums of money in hiring cars for mangers at the expense of improving services delivery,” read part of the petition.

The demonstrators also accused council management of double dipping council coffers.

“Residents would like to know why senior council mangers are given housing allowances yet they stay in council houses,” the petition added.

“We know they are getting nothing less than $900 per month as housing allowance yet they are staying in council houses.”

The residents also complained about high monthly water bills yet most areas are go for days without tap water and accused council on billing them on estimates.

Source : New Zimbabwe