Harare mayor cancels debt collectors' contracts

HARARE - Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has ordered acting town clerk Josephine Ncube to terminate the contract of all debt collectors who have been pursuing hard-pressed long-suffering residents.

This comes after the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC directed Harare councillors on February 28 to cancel the contract of debt collectors.

The debt collectors have been threatening and attaching property of defaulting ratepayers. The bailiffs are also charging an extra 10 percent of what residents owe to council.

Last week, deputy mayor Chris Mbanga told a stakeholders’ workshop that he backs debt collection, saying “this compels residents to pay their debts to council”.

But Manyenyeni, in giving his order this week, noted that the debt recovery methods were brutal and that the Harare City Council has “little moral ground to demand these amounts from suffering residents when our cost structure is far from satisfactory”.

“It is unfair to squeeze money from suffering residents in order to allocate 70 percent of that money to salaries at the expense of service delivery,” he said.

More importantly, Manyenyeni highlighted that the correctness of the outstanding debts to council was contested by a significant number of rate payers targeted by the debt collectors.

Combined Harare Resident Association (Chra) said it applauds the acknowledgment by Manyenyeni that residents who are not receiving council water were being charged for water consumption.

“We note with concern that residents in areas like Ward 19 in Mabvuku last received council water as far back as 1994 but fell victim to the illegal operations of  . . . debt collectors,” it said.

“After the declaration by Manyenyeni, Chra will fight to ensure that residents who were robbed of their property and hard earned cash are compensated,” the Association said, adding that “on another note, Chra urges Harare councillors to support the noble initiative by Manyenyeni in light of spirited efforts from some quarters to disregard the mayor’s directive”.

Comments (1)

What will happen to the monies that were paid to the debt Collectors for outstanding debts. Does CITY of Harare takes the blame of the property and harassment that was endured by residence at the hands of these debt collectors. Thanks to Tsvangirai, but net time please be quick to react. Some these City of Harare officials they are agents of CIO, who are there to tarnish the image of Council so that ZANU PF step in and appear to be Messiahs

amina - 13 March 2017

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