Harare churches owe $10m in unpaid rates

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

HARARE mayor Herbert Gomba yesterday summoned church leaders in a bid to recover $10 million owed by various religious institutions in rates and rentals.

Although the council plans to name and shame churches that were not paying their rates and leases amounting to more than $10 million, Gomba pleaded with the clerics to settle their dues or approach the city for a payment plan.

“We have to work together as council and the church. This is your city and you have to have an input into how we run it. The input means you meet your side and us as council doing our best,” Gomba said.

Council also accused churches of noise-making in residential areas and said city by-laws required that new church buildings should be sound proof to avoid interfering with the lives of people living within their vicinity.

But church leaders requested that council offer them an incentive either through a discount or cancelling their debts so that they could start afresh.

“We are ready to pay, but we are saying your worship, may you consider giving us a 40% discount. Most of our churches are struggling. We know that we erred, but as your people, give us a chance to start afresh,” Zimbabwe Amalgamated Churches Council’s George Manongwa said.

“Also look at the amount we are buying the church stands, very exorbitant. The requirements that a church should have $30 000 in the account before they apply for a stand was prohibitive. In fact, let me say this, most indigenous churches are finding it hard to raise such kind of money. Can council
do something.”

The church leaders also pleaded with council to avail residential stands to them, saying most of the preachers retire from service without homes.

In response, Gomba said he would take up the discount request with his team, but requested that if the proposal was approved by council, churches should settle their bills and also stop occupying open spaces without authority from the city.

Gomba was accompanied by councillors and city officials, led by the director for housing and social amenities, Edmore Nhekairo. Some of the church leaders who attended the meeting include Apostolic Faith Mission faction leader Cossum Chiangwa.

2 Comments

  1. Camilla Kasinayo

    PLEASE GIVE TO CAESAR WHAT BELONGS TO CAESAR AND FULFILL WHAT THE GOSPEL SAYS. IF CHURCHES DO NOT PAY THEIR RATES AND RENTALS THEY MAKE GOD’S WORD OF NON EFFECT BECAUSE THEY WILL ALWAYS BE REFERRED TO AS THOSE WHO DO NOT PAY RATES. MUSASVIBISA ZITA RA JEHOVAH, PLEASE PLEASE.

  2. so mr mayor just collect the money and keep quiet everybody in zimbabwe owes someone something and its the way life is until sanctions are removed

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