Victor Maphosa Herald Correspondent
Harare residents are up in arms with the Harare City Council (HCC) for allegedly failing to recover over RTGS$200 000 owed by Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House, formerly Harvest House.
Residents are accusing HCC of being partisan when it comes to dealing with debt collection.
Harare Residents Trust (HRT) through their Facebook page urged council to urgently address the issue and stop being partisan.
“One of the major debtors at City of Harare is Harvest House, which owes the City of Harare over $200 000. Sometime in April 2019, there was an execution order for the attachment of Harvest House, and the acting chamber secretary, Mr Charles Kandemiri, stopped the process,” HRT said.
“In terms of council policy, all debts above $10 000 must be handed over to external lawyers to facilitate recovery of the accumulated debt. Reports indicate that when (Mr) Kandemiri stopped the execution of the court order, the Mayor reportedly then instructed another law firm, Kanokanga and Partners, who had to stop the Messenger of Court from attaching the building.
“In recent weeks, the City of Harare has issued thousands of summons to residents demanding that they (sic) repay their debts, even for as little as $500 while leaving the biggest debtors to go scot-free at the expense of the paying ratepayers. Why should other residents be threatened with property attachments when they have failed to do the same with Harvest House, due to partisan decision-making.”
HRT said the HCC should practise equality when it comes to ratepayers.
“HCC should recover the money owed by Harvest House first before tormenting other ratepayers. There has to be equality before the law.”
Harare City Council corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme could neither deny nor confirm the allegations levelled against the council.
He, however, said the council does not discriminate against its customers.
“Harare City Council has an arrangement where all debtors can do a payment plan. The arrangement is not discriminatory and applies to all our customers, big and small,” Mr Chideme said.
Contacted for a comment, acting chamber secretary Mr Kandemiri said he was never involved in the case as it was the duty of the legal department.
“That issue is handled by our legal department. However, what I know is that the execution could not go through after the debtor came and together with the council agreed on a payment plan. We will continue to monitor if the debtor will honour the agreement. Failure to do so will force the council to proceed with the execution.”