Ivan Zhakata Herald Correspondent
The Harare City Council has issued 10 000 summons to defaulting ratepayers in a bid to recover part of the $900 million that it is owed.
The debt, according to the city is preventing it from providing adequate service to ratepayers.
City of Harare’s corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said the 10 000 summons were for both residential and commercial defaulters.
“10 000 summons have been issued to defaulting ratepayers. This is the first batch of summons and more will be issued in due course. For convenience, this year we have engaged legal firms not debt collectors.
“Those who do not comply with the payments will have their properties attached by the messenger of court and other will be taken to court. Council is urging debtors to come forward with payment plans or to pay up before legal action is taken. Residents proposing payment plans should at least pay their current bills,” he said.
Last week when announcing the city’s 2020 agenda, town clerk Engineer Chisango said debt recovery was a top priority as council was owed in excess of $900 million.
Eng Chisango said council was updating the general valuation roll, exploitation of all revenue streams and complemented by an efficient billing and tariff modelling. He also said there was need for council to urgently recover the money so council can improve on service delivery.
“We also need to recover money owed by huge debtors, and this requires a business unusual approach,” Eng Chisango said.
Council owes various organisations $503 million. The city also requires about $18 million monthly for water treatment chemicals.
Eng Chisango said the city was expecting progress on its new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
“We started with billing and all other related functions are being worked on. We expect all our operations to be integrated onto the new system.”