Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
THE Redcliff Municipality is struggling to clear $38 million owed to Kwekwe City Council for the supply of water to the town.
The debt has been accumulating over the years, leaving Redcliff buckling under the weight of arrears, which have ballooned to $$38,278,424.
The satellite local authority has been receiving water from the sister council since the closure of Ziscosteel more than a decade ago.
The steel company’s demise also frustrated business operations in the town resulting in residents, most of whom relied on Zisco for survival, failing to pay their rates.
Recently, the Redcliff Municipality appealed to residents to come on board and help raise funds to clear the Kwekwe debt so that they can continue receiving water from the sister local authority.
In a public notice, Redcliff appealed to households to make a contribution of US$10 to enable the cash strapped local authority to settle its debt.
“The Municipality of Redcliff would like to inform its valued residents and stakeholders that the Kwekwe water bill has accumulated to $38,278,424-54. Therefore, water supply has become erratic.
“In order to improve water supply residents are encouraged to pay US$10 per household towards clearing the bill,” read part of the notice signed by acting town clerk, Mr Nyararai Gomba.
Reached for comment, Redcliff Mayor, Councilor Clayton Masiyatsva said residents were not paying bills resulting in dwindling coffers.
“People are not paying their rates to the council and we end up struggling to render normal service delivery. We are billing an average of $7 million per month but we are collecting only 20 percent of that amount.
“We depend on the rates from both corporates and residents, but lately residents have not been forthcoming hence the idea that at least each household part with US$10 towards the water bill,” said Cllr Masiyatsva.
He said besides reduced cash inflows, there are some companies that owe the local authority more.
“Without the funds it is difficult for us to offer service delivery. Even Kwekwe is also looking up to us and if we do not pay, they cannot continue supplying us with water because chemicals are expensive,” said the councillor.
This comes as Redcliff municipality has set aside $375 million for the construction of a water treatment plant as part of the local authority’s efforts to improve water supplies in the mining town.
Redcliff council recently installed a new water pump to enable it to pump water to areas on high ground, which had not received portable water for over a decade.