HARARE residents’ associations yesterday described threats by the city council to take legal action against defaulters as “foolish”.
REPORT BY MOSES MATENGA
They told NewsDay in separate interviews that the local authority should engage people without issuing such threats.
Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) director Precious Shumba said: “Our elected councillors will soon take charge of the council and give us a clearer policy direction on debt management and the chaotic billing system.
“Threats against defaulting residents only promote resistance by the majority of residents. The legal route is a long process. (Chamber secretary Josephine) Ncube should be at the forefront of advising her colleagues in the City Treasury department to address urgently the chaotic billing system, which has remained the root cause of the unjustified bills being received by residents.”
HRT said residents wanted to pay their bills, but were unable to match the increase in interest rates on overdue accounts, and the manipulation of the bills to cover for rampant corruption in the council, spearheaded by senior managers.
Combined Harare Residents’ Association chairperson Simbarashe Moyo said residents were not paying because of the chaotic billing system and council should address that first.
“There is nothing new here. We have been paying for what we get from council, but had problems with abnormal bills caused by the chaotic billing system. We are all agreed that residents must not get services for free. We also want to urge the government and business to honour up on the payment of bills,” said Moyo.
Other residents said the council must find better ways to address the problem and stop issuing threats.
The Harare City Council at the weekend warned residents against failing to pay bills: “Failure to settle bills in full by the due date will leave the council with no option, but to take further action. Pay your bills by due dates to avoid any inconveniences and attendant legal action.”