Council warns residents of bogus Zanu PF welfare trust

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The Harare City Council has threatened to clamp down on a Zanu PF-aligned bogus residents group, the Zimbabwe Welfare Trust, following reports the it was collecting protection fees from residents with outstanding water bills.

Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said the alleged trust had set up offices at several council premises where residents were made to pay undisclosed amounts of money to obtain a debt reprieve.

Its time we engage the police because this is a law enforcement matter, said Masunda.
Councillor Tembinkosi Magwaliba, a lawyer, said council should engage a court order to stop the group from operating from council offices.

We must engage the courts to stop this act within council premises. They can do it in any other area, he said.

Councillor Wellington Chikombo said council should educate residents on the matter.
Another councillor said: Those people have protection somewhere else otherwise. Police hands are also tied and it needs your (mayors) office to work on that.

Its a political issue that needs political intervention. These people are capitalising on our call to attach property of defaulters.

The local authority has over the years been haunted by another Zanu PF-aligned group, Chipangano, which has disrupted council business and invaded properties including Carter House in Mbare and markets in the same suburb.

Council last week threatened legal action against residents with outstanding bills, but the government ruled the move illegal.