HomeLocal NewsBulawayo Council under fire over auctions

Bulawayo Council under fire over auctions


Bulawayo residents have condemned council’s resolution to attach and auction their household goods to recover an estimated $34 million it is owed in unpaid bills.

Council last week auctioned property such as refrigerators, kitchen units, television sets and stoves belonging to 16 residents who had failed to settle their bills.

In January, the local authority auctioned property worth $3,3 million belonging to defaulters.

But in a statement yesterday, Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (BPRA) co-ordinator Rodrick Fayayo accused council of being insensitive to residents’ plight.

“Despite claims by councillors and council authorities that they have the residents’ best interests at heart, BPRA believes this latest move indicates the city fathers have no regard for the plight of residents they serve and are not in touch with the reality people are experiencing difficulties meeting their obligations due to the economic crisis the country is facing,” Fayayo said.

He accused the local authority of double standards saying the blitz targeted ordinary residents while leaving out businesses and government departments, which he said, owed council huge sums of money.

“BPRA is also disturbed to note that while council is owed money not only by residents, but also by scores of commercial operators and government departments, none of the latter’s property is reported to have been attached or sold at the auctions,” Fayayo said.

“It seems then the city fathers are practising double standards and preying on vulnerable residents.

“BPRA thus questions why it is easy for city fathers to deprive already struggling residents of the little property they own before going after bigger debtors or even taking time to sit them down to discuss alternatives for debt recovery,” he said.

“The association proposes the municipality should hold consultative meetings around the city’s 29 wards to highlight the issue of debts, challenges council is facing due to them and what methods residents can employ to clear their debts.

“BPRA believes council has failed to sufficiently engage with residents on how debts can be dealt with.”

Mayor Thaba Moyo has maintained alternative solutions should be sought to recover the local authority’s debt from defaulters.

“We have to see whether the policy we have taken is bearing the wanted results,” he said.

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