By Farai Matiashe
Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) has slammed Local Government minister July Moyo for authorising local authorities to engage debt collectors to recover monies owed by residents, describing the move as illegal.
Moyo recently told Parliament that local authorities could use debt collectors to recover money owed by residents.
“We reiterate that the operations of debt collectors are illegal as there is no Act of Parliament that allows debt collectors to attach property or issue threats on behalf of creditors,” CHRA said. The association threatened to mobilise residents to resist the debt collectors.
“The operations of debt collectors amounts to daylight robbery as they charge an extra 10% on top of what the residents owe council. In some cases, the money collected by the debt collectors is not remitted to council and residents remain in debt despite having parted with their hard-earned money,” the statement read.
Moyo’s pronouncement reveals huge policy inconsistency on the part of the government regarding the engagement of debt collectors by local authorities.
CHRA said there was policy inconsistency in the ministry because last year Moyo tabled a ministerial statement in the National Assembly in which he warned local authorities against engaging debt collectors, saying it was illegal to do so.
“The minister reiterated that there is no legal provision supporting the engagement of debt collectors in the Urban Councils Act or the Rural District Councils Act. He also made reference to the Local Government Circular No. 3 which directed all local authorities to desist from engaging debt collectors,” said the association.