The Bulawayo City Council yesterday backtracked from its threats to cause the imprisonment of residents with unpaid bills.
Mayor Thaba Moyo confirmed the council’s change of heart following condemnation of the intended move by residents’ associations.
“That’s (imprisonment) not our policy. We don’t arrest people. We are not ZRP (Zimbabwe Republic Police).
“We talk to the people,” he said.
Earlier on, council spokesperson Nesisa Mpofu had told the State media the local authority would cause the arrest and imprisonment of residents who default in paying their rates in a bid to recover the more than $60 million in unpaid bills.
On Friday, council auctioned property worth $3 300 625 belonging to defaulters in different parts of Bulawayo after issuing summons to 2 200 debtors.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association co-ordinator Rodrick Fayayo said the threats to have residents arrested over debts were an “unnecessary move”.
Bulawayo United Residents’ Association chairman Winos Dube said the stance of the local authority showed that “they don’t have a heart for the suffering of residents”.