Residents challenge council over water

HARARE - Disgruntled residents — through the Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) — are planning to challenge Harare City Council (HCC)’s water disconnection summons and property attachments.

Chra chairperson Simbarashe Moyo said they are compiling cases of residents who have been issued with summons by the HCC, with an intention to challenge them.

“The exact number of cases is difficult to ascertain because daily there are people who approach us with their summons, however, areas most affected are Mabvuku, Budiriro and Mufakose,” he said.

This comes as the Community Water Alliance (CWA) said most residents were not fully-aware of the legal procedures with regards to the summons and property attachments over water bills.

CWA programmes manager Hardlife Mudzingwa said council was “preying on the residents’ ignorance by issuing default judgments on those clients who do not respond”.

The alliance said it noted that some bills sent to residents did not tally with the amount of water consumed, while some residents, who have not been getting water supply, are also being billed.

“We have analysed most of the debts for people in areas such as Mabvuku, Borrowdale and Waterfalls and realised that these people are being charged for consuming water yet some have not received the service in the last five years. The debts accruing are thoroughly incorrect,” Mudzingwa said.

He said a CWA survey conducted since 2013, following the write-off of all council bills, indicated that consumers were being overcharged for water, with the city billing 25 cents for every cubic metre of water.

Mudzingwa said some residents who cleared their debts were also still having their property attached by council.

“There is a lot of corruption with this issue. A resident in Mufakose is still to get her property back after it was auctioned off illegally. Ultimately, council should have an audit into this matter,” he said.

Mudzingwa added that despite so many matters arising from the billing of water, council is still moving ahead with installing prepaid water meters.

HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme said the city would continue issuing summons, final notices and attaching property of defaulters.

“People who have been issued with final warnings should approach council and negotiate on a payment plan to clear their arrears,” he said.

Comments (1)

Community Water Alliance should publish their nos.Residents must unite and fight the corrupt city council who are fledecing unsuspecting residents.Lets us refuse to pay for the so called water

baba Taku - 2 August 2016

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