By Clayton Shereni
MASVINGO residents yesterday, July 6, bemoaned poor service delivery in the city saying it was violating their fundamental human rights that includes the right to water, education and health despite paying consistently for the services to the duty bearers, Masvingo City Council (MCC).
Speaking during a public meeting to deliberate over the implications of service delivery on the enjoyment of human rights organized by Masvingo United and Residents Ratepayers Alliance (MURRA) in conjunction with Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD), residents from the city’s 10 wards lamented that poor service delivery was impacting negatively on them to enjoy their fundamental human rights provided for in the constitution of the country.
Residents cited water shortages that have wowed them over the past years as they get it for few hours, erratic refuse collection, shortages of council schools and clinics to mention a few.
Residents who attended the meeting bewailed the deteriorating state of service delivery in the city which they said doesn’t tally with exorbitant bills charged by the local authority.
Speaking at the event, Ward 1 resident, Tracy Musakaruka, said they are not receiving quality service provision and called upon the local authority to improve its communication strategies especially on developments in service delivery and budget processes.
“We are not amused by the state of service delivery in Masvingo. Bills are skyrocketing but service delivery continues to deteriorate. Sometimes we don’t even get water for a week but we don’t get any concrete reasons from the city fathers. Some of these issues are just being communicated on social media but the city fathers must not shun traditional means of communication in relaying information pertaining service delivery, budget consultations and budget reviews because we have the elderly amongst us that are not privy to social media,” said Musakararuka.
Also speaking at the same program, Advocate Tatenda Nyoka challenged residents to engage the local authority and also consider legal routes whenever they feel shortchanged by the local authority.
“Residents have rights and these are enshrined in the constitution. City fathers have an obligation to provide services to residents and also make information regarding service delivery accessible to all. If the local authority continues to defy the constitution, residents can approach the local government Minister or even the courts of law to challenge the way their local authority is providing services,” Nyoka said.
Of-late, the local authority has been struggling to cope with the demand for water and refuse collection in the city at a time when the country is facing a spike in cholera cases.
Responding to concerns by residents, Masvingo Mayor, Collen Maboke acknowledged that they are facing challenges in meeting some service delivery duties but lamented the financial situation in the country which he said has a bearing on their operations.
“We are trying our level best, of cause in some areas we are not meeting the demand because the population is ballooning and our capacity is still the same. Our major setback is funding, currently we are trying to access loans because government has failed to bail us out so we are still waiting for responses from possible funding partners but as you can see we are trying to cater for every resident’s needs,” said Maboke.
The city is currently pumping 30 mega liters of water per day against a daily demand of up to 60 mega liters and is still to complete the Water Augmentation phase two due to financial constraints at the town house.
Due to sprawling suburbs in the city most of them being developed by land barons who are heavily linked to the ruling Zanu PF elite, Masvingo City Council has been burdened to provide services in these areas despite facing serious financial challenges.