THE Gweru City Council has embarked on massive water disconnections against residents that have not settled overdue bills in a bid to compel them to pay up.
STEPHEN CHADENGA,OWN CORRESPONDENT
Since the beginning of this year, council has been struggling to provide adequate water services and to pay its workers as a result of deteriorating working capital.
The problem was further compounded by a government directive to scrap all residential rate and water bills. The cash-strapped council is currently owed over $13 million in unpaid rates, water, refuse and sewage bills by companies operating in the city.
Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi yesterday told our Bulawayo Bureau that the disconnections were justified since residents were not even bothering to settle their debts.
“We have residents who have gone for more than two months without settling their water bills. Honestly how can council be expected to provide smooth
services when people are not paying up? We are left with no choice but to whip defaulters into line by disconnecting them,” Kombayi said.
In the past, the city fathers tried to persuade residents to pay up by offering discounts for settling bills within a set period, but this yielded little results.
Gweru Residents and Ratepayers’ Association chairperson Cornelia Selipiwe has in the past called on council to come up with payment plans that suit individuals citing company closures that have left most residents unemployed.