HomeHeadlinesChitungwiza residents owe $700m in unpaid rates

Chitungwiza residents owe $700m in unpaid rates

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BY TAPFUMANEI MUCHABAIWA
Chitungwiza municipality has claimed that service delivery is being hampered by residents’ failure to pay rates, with arrears currently hovering around $700 million.

In a statement on Monday, the municipality said some residents had clocked three months in arrears.

“Residents whose arrears are over three months will be handed over to the Financial Clearance Bureau starting February 1, 2022,” the council said.

Council spokesperson Lovemore Meya told NewsDay that the $700 million debt owed by commercial entities and residents had derailed efforts to provide seamless service delivery.

“On rates, the commercial sector owes the municipality $343 817 823, while the residents owe $232 180 947. The debt on water bills is $30 222 647 for the commercial sector, while the residents’ debt for water bills is $110 485 598, giving us a total of $716 707 016,” Meya said.

He said some of the commercial debtors included government departments.

“Residents should meet us halfway in order for the council to implement the expectations of the ratepayers. We should all own our obligations. Failure or reluctance by rate payers to meet their expectations will also cripple council capacity to bring efficient service delivery to them.

“Council has not been able to offer services efficiently from 2013 when the government cancelled the debts which residents were due to pay,” Meya said, in reference to a directive by then Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo cancelling all debts owed by residents to local authorities.

The move was described as a Zanu PF government vote-buying gimmick.

Chitungwiza Residents Trust president Alice Kuvheya yesterday insisted that residents would only pay for services rendered.

“We can only pay for services rendered. There is no water, sewage is flowing in our houses and our lives are in danger,” she said.

“People are dumping waste everywhere because the council has failed to collect refuse timeously. Council must deliver first and ratepayers will feel that they are obliged to pay,” Kuvheya said.

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