Masvingo (New Ziana) –Masvingo residents are up in arms against the city council for slashing their crops while leaving tall grass on the sides of roads and at intersections, which poses danger to motorists and pedestrians.
The local authority last Thursday slashed maize on pieces of land on the margins of the Mucheke River and other undesignated open spaces.
In interviews, residents said they cultivated the open spaces and on the banks of the rivers to grow crops, mostly the staple maize, to feed their families as they do not afford to buy mealie meal.
“For the past five years that I have stayed in Rujeko, I have never in my life witnessed council cutting the tall grass between the Central Business District and Rujeko suburb, where residents are sometimes mugged, only for them to slash people’s crops. How does that work?” asked one of the residents.
“Imagine all the efforts someone would have put in buying fertilizers and other inputs only for your crops to be slashed. Why start now when all these years they have never done something like this?”
The local authority slashed crops grown along the banks of the two rivers that cut through the ancient city, Mucheke and Shagashe, as well as other undesignated areas.
Shortly before the onset of the rainy season last year, council warned residents against practicing stream bank cultivation and growing crops on undesignated spaces without its approval.
“Residents who have already started preparing to cultivate along the river or any other streams are advised to stop, failure of which City council will move in and slash the crops.”
Most local authorities outlaw stream bank cultivation as it causes siltation of the rivers, which are the major sources of raw water.
The fertilisers and other chemicals that are used also pollute water sources, making treatment process expensive, forcing councils to pass on the costs to ratepayers, who then complain about high service charges.