Harare City accused of extorting money from residents


HARARE residents are crying foul over the “shambolic” billing system used by the city council which has seen rate-payers “accumulating” exorbitant bills for services they would not have been rendered, Harare Residents’ Trust director Precious Shumba has said.


Shumba told NewsDay yesterday that several residents had approached the trust raising concern over the unjustifiable bills they were receiving. He said the trust suspected that the city was deliberately extorting money.

“What we have realised is that the problem could be emanating from the shambolic billing system used by the city, which is a deliberate ploy to extort money from residents,” he said.

Shumba said they had so far received more than 200 reports from residents, but they were dealing with each case on its merit before referring the aggrieved ratepayers to the municipality for possible redress.

He urged the council to resort to the old system where the due date for payment was the 7th of each month and not the last day to allow residents, many of whom are in the informal sector, time to honour their obligations.

He said although there were no problems with power utility Zesa, the major issues related to inconsistent load-shedding and the manipulation of the pre–paid system.

“The current billing system is open to manipulation by City Treasury officials and other senior managers who have unhindered access to the system’s servers,” he said.

Shumba said residents had raised complaints of being short-changed after receiving power supplies that did not tally with the pre–payments they would have made.

The city’s director of water Christopher Zvobgo has since indicated that they would embark on a pilot project to install pre-paid water meters for a more efficient billing system.

“We want to introduce pre-paid water meters and we will soon roll out a pilot project. If we install pre-paid meters, then consumers can manage their own consumption, doing away with the billing system,” he said.


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  2. City council is swindling consumers big time. They are just estimating figures and if they realize you actually honor your obligations, they inflate the figures. I stay in Ashdown Park and most of the time we do not have water for 2 or 3weeks each month, but when the bills come, you find the figures above $95.00. The refusal is collected once a week but still the bills are so exorbitant. No one comes to collect the meter readings.

    Clear daylight robbery

  3. Oldest trick in the book..shock consumers with exhorbitant bills and drive them into the clutches of corrupt colleagues who cash in via bribes and so on. If the City managers are not in on the scam I would be surprised why pigs do not fly! This is known by the city bosses and they are cashing in big time!

  4. This expose and watch business is not doing us any good we want to see action and change in service delivery.

  5. We have seen everything is Zimbabwe go off route from service providers to end users.On the roads the traffic lights are now like billboards even if they are functional no one cares to respect it.Total absence of the police on the roads cause this kind of behaviour.

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