Chitungwiza council faces lawsuit over bills

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Harare councillors want the local authority to take Chitungwiza Town Council to court over unpaid water bills in a move that is set to worsen service delivery problems in the dormitory town.

Councillors who spoke during a special council meeting last week said the local authority must respect a resolution they made last year to take Chitungwiza Council to court over unpaid water and sewage bills.

Councillor Herbert Gomba asked the acting town clerk Prosper Chonzi why council had not taken the resolution to sue over the $8 million debt seriously.

Asked Gomba: “What is the latest on the issue of taking Chitungwiza to court as we instructed you last year?”

Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said: “The actual amount is $8,7 million and this was raised during our meeting with (Local Government) minister Chombo and (Water) minister (Samuel Sipepa) Nkomo and we asked them to ask Finance Minister Tendai Biti to assist Chitungwiza.

“Chitungwiza was unfortunately not represented at the highest level possible as there was no mayor or his deputy,” he said.

Masunda said Chitungwiza council officials during the meeting said they had no way of stopping the sewage from flowing into their streets and catchment areas.

“If we stop providing them with water, there will be a catastrophe and we wouldn’t want to imagine what will happen,” Masunda said.

Harare is providing water to satellite towns including Norton, Chitungwiza and Ruwa.

But it is owed millions of dollars by government, business and residents for water.

Other councillors suggested council should start disconnecting water to government institutions, which are not paying their bills to force them to comply.