Harare council attaches defaulters' property

HARARE - Harare City Council has begun attaching property of debtors as part of efforts to improve its revenue collection.

The attachments come after the local authority contracted debt collectors to recover more than $600 million it is owed by residents, businesses, industry and government departments.

A source within council said some residents in Mbare and Mabvuku had their property attached last week.

“In Mbare along Bassopo Moyo Way, a family had most of their household goods taken away because of a long-standing debt with council. They had to plead for some of their blankets not to be taken,” he said.

Residents Forum coordinator Denford Ngadziore said while the city may have enlisted the services of debt collectors, it does not make what they are doing right.

“Contracting debt collectors does not address the root cause of the economic meltdown which is preventing ratepayers from meeting their obligations,” Ngadziore said.

Combined Harare Residents Association said while some have already lost property, there was no Act of Parliament that empowered debt collectors to issue threats of attachments.

“Some of the residents who have been served with letters of final demand by the debt collectors have not been receiving water for years and it boggles the mind why council would like to claim payment for services not rendered,” Chra said.

Community Water Alliance (CWA) programmes manager Hardlife Mudzingwa said residents were not fully aware of the legal procedures with regard to the summons.

Mudzingwa said council was preying on residents’ ignorance by issuing default judgments on those who did not respond.

The CWA programmes manager said their organisation noticed that bills sent to residents and water consumed did not tally because some residents have not been receiving municipal water.

“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,” he said.

HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme could neither confirm nor deny the development only saying that people ignore final demand letters.

Chideme said when demand letters are delivered to debtors they throw them away only to react when property is being attached.

“Whether the property was attached from a private residence or a council-owned premises, the city will take the necessary steps to recover its money. The problem is that people do not take those letters seriously and only want to react when property is taken,” he said.

Comments (1)

MDC will not win elections they are a confused bunch, Tsvangirai knows what residents are going through and does nothing to this clueless Manyenyeni idiot

Tariro Shumba - 4 May 2017

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