Home » Industry » Chitungwiza Hires Debt Collectors Over U.S.$32 Million Arrears

Some residents in Chitungwiza risk losing their properties after the municipality engaged a law firm last week to institute legal proceedings to recover US$32 million owed in unpaid rates and bills.The municipality, which is struggling to provide services, contends that its operations have been crippled by non-payment of bills.

“We are owed US$32 million in unpaid rates and efforts to get payment have failed,” said town clerk Mr George Makunde.

“We are left with no option but to institute legal proceedings against all defaulters through a debt collector. Last week we engaged a law firm that will institute the proceedings on our behalf in a bid to recover the debts.”

Mr Makunde said council was failing in service delivery and other obligations due to lack of funds.

“We have a big problem in paying our workers and we have resorted to paying them half salaries in batches,” he said. “We cannot afford to pay all of them every month, as you all know, due to financial challenges.

“If all residents clear their debts, our service delivery will improve and council workers will get their salaries timeously.”

Mr Makunde said he was worried about the welfare of council workers, some whom lived in rented houses.

“The workers need to pay rent every month,” he said.

“Their children have to go to school, they need food and clothes. We are really operating under difficult conditions and the residents must play their part through paying their monthly bills.”

Mr Makunde said on average, council was now collecting 48 percent revenue as less than half of ratepayers were paying their dues every month.

Last month the municipality wrote to residents expressing concern over the irregular payment of bills since the scrapping of their debts in June last year.

Source : The Herald