Yeukai Karengezeka Municipal Correspondent
Harare City Council has increased trenching fees for telecommunication companies and other players ranging from $10 000 to $100 000.
Prior to this development, there were no existing charges to that effect, except for penalties and trenching along road servitudes.
According to the approved supplementary budget by council last week under operations account, the city recommended several charges around trenching which will be implemented on August 1.
While trenching along road servitudes used to be $150 per 30 metres, the figure has been increased to $50 000 for the same length.
Trenching penalties which used to cost $1 050 are now pegged at $100 000.
The city has set application fee for trenching at $10 000, while the trenching permit is pegged at $200 000.
Trenching in low density areas will cost $50 000 per 30 metres or part length thereof.
In the high density suburbs, it costs $30 000 for the same length.
The city council has also begun to charge for base stations on council land at $5 000 per month, as well as those on other land at $2 500 per month.
According to recent minutes of the Joint Environmental Management and Development Committee, town clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango said the city and had not been able to collect lease rentals on all trenched land.
Eng Chisango recommended adoption of lease agreements for trenches dug in the city.
“Then new temporary trenching permit was designed to enforce signing of leases once work was done,” reads minutes of the committee meeting.
“This had been proposed as a temporary measure, while the acting finance director, the director of works and the chamber secretary finalised appropriate lease agreement frameworks for this sector.”
Those companies that had already dug trenches and had their infrastructure already installed would be engaged to regularise their agreements with council.
Acting chamber secretary Mr Charles Kandemiri advised that telecommunications companies had refused to sign the way-leave agreement citing that they had already paid a once-off payment for the permits.
Council then decided not to renew the permits and the telecommunications companies ended up complying with the new terms.