By Darlington Madzonga
Residents of Glen View high density suburb are up in arms with the local authority over uncollected refuse in the suburb. City of Harare stopped regularly collecting garbage a long time ago. This situation got worse when most councilors were recalled in 2022. Refuse collection trucks are no longer doing routine collections in the area. Residents are now dumping refuse everywhere especially in open spaces, posing a significant health hazard. This is despite the fact that they are paying ZWL$778 monthly per household which is meant for once a week refuse collection. Instead, the local authority is sending out refuse collection schedules via social media platforms when they are able to do the collections. Most residents who are not on social media won’t get the message. Engagement with the District Officer at Glen View District office has revealed that the issue of refuse collection is now being coordinated at the head office. This is due to the fact that the city’s refuse collection fleet is too small to service the 46 wards of Harare. Fuel is also a major challenge. Most residents are paying their bills in the local currency whilst most service stations are selling fuel in foreign currency.
With garbage uncollected, illegal dumpsites have become common phenomena especially at shopping centres, open spaces and roadsides. When residents talk of uncollected refuse, Tichagarika Shopping centre, Glen View 3 Shopping centre and Glen View One Shopping centres are some of the areas where dumpsites are growing daily. The Glen View home industry Complex is another area where heaps of uncollected refuse can be seen. Uncollected skip bins at shopping centres grow into big dumpsites which are a health hazard to residents. Glen View residents are yet to recover from the shocks of Cholera and Typhoid which ravaged the suburb a few years back. These diseases are linked to unclean environments such as the one currently obtaining. Uncollected refuse especially during this rain season is a source of diseases. This is also happening at a time where cases of typhoid have been recorded in the neighboring suburb of Glen Norah.
Residents are pleading with Council to uphold Section 73 (1) (a) of the constitution which gives every citizen right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being. Last year residents of the area under the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) petitioned the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to intervene. The minister is yet to respond but all fingers are pointing at him. The local councilors are blaming the minister for frustrating their efforts to deal with the refuse collection crisis which has rocked the whole city. The Mayor of Harare, his Worship Councilor Jacob Mafume has repeatedly told residents that the failure by the Local Government and Public Works ministry to disburse devolution funds is affecting service delivery in Harare. The city had plans to boost their refuse collection fleet using these devolution funds. The Mayor has also blamed the Minister’s interference with council operations as another challenge the city is facing in its endeavor to improve service delivery. The Minister is doing this mostly by directives to the city. One thing is for sure, this continued back and forth is not new and as is usual, while they play politics, citizens continue to suffer!