Council rehires Wellcash Debt Collectors

HARARE - Harare City Council (HCC) has re-hired Wellcash Debt Collectors (Wellcash) in their quest to maximise revenue collection, as ratepayers owe the local authority over $650 million.

HCC terminated Wellcash’s contract following outrage by hard-pressed residents, who argued that they were being fleeced by the debt collector who charged an extra 10 percent on bills.

The residents also complained that their payments to Wellcash were not credited to their accounts.

This saw residents’ pressure group — Combined Harare Residents Association — holding intensive campaigns to stop the debt collectors, urging the residents to pay directly to HCC.

In response, a full council meeting held in May 2017 resolved to terminate Wellcash’s contract.

In a statement yesterday HCC said: “The City of Harare would like to advise residents and ratepayers that it has reengaged Wellcash Debt Collectors with effect from August 10, 2017.

“Ratepayers are encouraged to comply with all the payment plans they entered with Wellcash.

“Those who may not be able to fulfil their obligations are requested to visit Wellcash offices at the head office or respective district offices to renew or renegotiate payment plans.

“Ratepayers are encouraged to make payment plans with the City of Harare to avoid debt collectors.

“A payment plan that is adhered to does not attract interest charges.

“Our emphasis is on dialogue. Let us talk to each other. Let us team up to make the Sunshine City shine.”

HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme yesterday said the city’s revenue had been declining since disengaging Wellcash.

“Our finances were going down from the time we disengaged the services of Wellcash,” he told the Daily News.

“Everybody has seen reason that we need to collect what is due to the local authority, you will appreciate that we are owed over $650 million by our customers countrywide, so we have reengaged Wellcash.

“This time around, we are urging our customers to co-operate and where they have issues they should raise them with council and they will be resolved.”

The city says Wellcash brought in more than $3, 3 million directly, while a further $20 million due to council was paid to council by residents who were served with letters of demand.

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