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Proposed budget: why I object

AS a ratepayer and resident of Harare I object to the proposed 2004 Budget for the City of Harare on the following grounds:

l Our elected Mayor has been suspended

by the Minister of Local Government and National Housing Ignatius Chombo without consulting residents. Other councillors and operations of council are constantly interfered with. Why then should we pay taxes when those we elected to oversee operations are not allowed to do the job we elected them to do?;

We have seen no improvement in the operations of the city, in particular it is dirty and unhealthy with piles of rubbish lying in the streets for weeks at a time. How can you justify increased charges for collection of rubbish when you don’t collect it?;

* Water supply is erratic, some of my constituents phone me regularly to complain that they have no water. Only today the mother of a prisoner in Chikurubi phoned to say there is no water at Chikurubi again. That is a very dangerous situation, and despite the increase in August you do not appear to be improving the service;

* Central government is supposed to allocate funds to local government to provide some of the services ratepayers are funding – eg clinics and schools. It is unfair to expect ratepayers, who are already among the most heavily taxed citizens in the world, to provide what central government is failing to provide; and

* My salary has not increased 925% since your Supplementary Budget in August. I am simply not able to pay such proposed increases in the rates and charges which I work out to be an average of 925%. My salary has not even doubled since August, so I am not even able to absorb an increase of 100%!

Trudy Stevenson, MP,

Mt Pleasant.

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