By Correspondent

Norton Chairperson Sylvester Gumisirai

Norton Town Council (NTC) has come under fire from local residents over exorbitant rates which they say are beyond their reach.

The local authority hiked its rates for both residential and commercial places and has since defended the move.

NTC Chairperson Sylvester Gumisirai said they had been victims of Harare’s rebasing in 2022.

“We had a meeting with stakeholders after Harare rebased and we realised we were in deep trouble.

“Harare stopped sending water invoices from July as they waited for their rebasing approval.

“They finally sent the invoices in October with the new charges and we found ourselves deep in debt.

“Our invoices used to be around ZWL$24 million but this time it was ZWL$127 million, the next month it was ZWL$144 million,” he explained.

Gumisirai said they had initially stalled rebasing too as the residents were against the move but they had been left with no option.

However, some Norton residents have accused the council of abject failure on the matter.

“This council lacks ability to repair its equipment, ie compactors, tractors et al but has an engineering workforce continually getting paid.

“They cannot even replace a multinational meter in 3 months but continue to charge ZWL90 000 or more per month journal debits for water they don’t even supply,” said one Saul Rukatya.

Another resident said residents shouldn’t suffer for Harare’s problems.

“So because Harare has caused harm then you transfer harm instead of challenging what Harare has done if it’s legal”.

A cross section of Norton residents have since vowed to take revenge by voting out the current bunch of councilors accusing them of incompetence.

Of the 15 councilors, two are independent with one from ZANU PF and the rest are from the opposition camp, shared between CCC and MDC-T.

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