Innocent Ruwende Municipal Reporter
Harare City Council has started attaching property belonging to over 4 000 defaulting ratepayers, amid reports that summons for more than 28 000 defaulters are also being prepared.
All tenants in commercial properties that owe the city over $10 000 have been handed over to city lawyers for litigation through the High Court.
Residents who have not been paying since the scrapping of bills in 2013 after a Government directive will not be spared.
The city is owed in excess of $300 million by residents and Government departments.
The city’s principal communications officer Mr Michael Chideme said warrants of execution have been served to 4 039 residents who owe the city a combined $16 536 786,50.
“An additional 28 404 summons valued at $24 992 671,40 have been issued against defaulting ratepayers, he said. Warrants of execution have been served to residents of Marlborough, Borrowdale, Mt Pleasant, Adylin, Bluffhill, Greendale, Chadcombe, Msasa Park and Cranborne.
“Water disconnections are also taking place in Mt Pleasant, Avondale, Borrowdale West and Marlborough while summons have been issued out to Kambuzuma, Rugare, Kuwadzana, Crowborough, Highfield, Glen View, Westlea and Gletwyn.”
Mr Chideme said the city also issued out 256 lease cancellation notices to tenants occupying council properties last week alone after their debt ballooned to $4,5 million.
He said Harare was on a drive to ensure that property owners and those that leased council properties paid their monthly bills to council.
“There are people who have not bothered to pay a single cent since the debt write-off of July 2013, said Mr Chideme.
The money is required to fund service delivery such as the provision of water, sewer, refuse collection, street lighting, road repairs and the general maintenance of city facilities among a host of other uses.
“Council is also encouraging all property owners leasing their properties to ensure that owners’ rates are paid to council. Our investigations have shown that absentee landlords make up the bulk of people whose properties are not up to date.”
The city has been struggling to pay workers’ salaries as well as provide basic services with human capital and public safety director Dr Cainos Chingombe, last month announcing that they had managed to pay January 2015 salaries for all grades and February salaries for grades 14 to 16.
The city also suspended all foreign trips and workshops by councillors and officials as a cost cutting measure.