Local authorities reel from fuel shortages

HARARE - Fuel shortages have hit most local authorities hard, with most of them now failing to discharge their service delivery mandates.

Harare City Council (HCC) spokesperson Michael Chideme said Harare has received fuel stocks but does not know how they will restock once supplies are depleted.

The threat to service delivery comes amid fears that Zimbabwe could be hit by diseases such as typhoid and cholera again as there is no water and garbage collection.

“We will now be collecting refuse as per the schedule that we released to residents at the weekend. However, with the crisis still on, we do not know what the situation will be like once the stocks are used up,” Chideme said.

For the past two weeks, HCC has not been able to collect refuse as garbage trucks were grounded as they did not have fuel.

“Due to the prevailing fuel shortages on the market, we are unable to do our scheduled garbage collections. Yesterday, 16 vehicles were deployed and have since exhausted their daily allocations and now efforts are being made to secure the fuel,” Chideme said last week.

Chitungwiza Town Council town clerk George Makunde said the local authority has held talks with service station owners in the town for them to refuel.

He said the failure to collect garbage was slowly agitating residents who felt that they were not getting their rates’ worth.

“We have not been spared of the fuel situation and we have been talking with the owners of fuel stations for us to get first preference when fuel is in stock. We will also prepare modalities for use to pay them on time so that the goodwill continues,” Makunde said.

Gweru has also had to resort to one refuse truck collecting garbage for the whole city as most of them are either grounded by technical problems or do not have fuel.

Gweru mayor Josiah Makombe said the fuel crisis had hit the council hard and feared that diseases could soon spread.

“Our residents should bear with us as we try and find fuel. We do not have special allocations or reserves so we are all part of the suffering,” Makombe said.

Chitunwgiza Council was recently saved by Zanu PF councillor Kiven Mutimbanyoka who donated 630 litres of fuel for service delivery.

Since December last year, Chitungwiza has been periodically failing to collect refuse in some suburbs prompting residents to spend the weekend with garbage at their homes.

Chitungwiza residents have, however, been complaining that with the daily rates payments being made at council, they still do not collect refuse as per schedule.

Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural Residents Association chairperson Marvellous Kumalo argued that refuse collection has always been a challenge for the council.

“Garbage has never been collected on time in Chitungwiza and we have been consistently at loggerheads with council over that issue as it exposes residents to diseases such as typhoid and cholera. They should have contingency plans for these kinds of situations,” Kumalo said.

He, however, added that while the fuel shortages are not the council’s problem, government should urgently prioritise fuel allocations to local authorities in order for them to carry out service delivery.

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