Please pay your bills

HARARE - Politicians and public officials must be at the forefront of paying utility bills owed to various service providers.

In Zimbabwe, these public officials have a propensity for refusing to honour their debts using their political clout to ward off bailiffs.

As a result of this welshing behaviour, most parastatals and service providers are failing to meet demand. One good example is the challenges facing power utility Zesa which is owed at least $1 billion by customers.

However, the bulk of that debt is mainly due to delinquent politicians and public officials that are refusing to pay the power utility.

In order to recover the money, Zesa has taken a number of these politicians to courts.

Former Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, who owes $327 481 for his Ulva Farm, and former Zanu PF member of Parliament for Mbare Tendai Savanhu, who owes $19 000 for his Eagle Estate Farm in Marondera, were hauled before the courts.

Likewise, Zesa also took legal action against Buhera South MP Joseph Chinotimba, who owes $43 716 for Wakatai Plot in Concession, and former Mashonaland East Provincial minister Ambrose Mutinhiri, who owes $54 000 for his Newton Farm.

This is just a tip of the iceberg because a number of politicians are yet to be sued by the power utility.

What these politicians are failing to realise is that this delinquent behaviour is sending a wrong message to the rest of the country.

Other home owners will also start to renege on paying power bills taking the cue from the politicians.

This will greatly affect Zesa’s obligation of providing electricity to the nation as they will not have resources to service equipment.

Due to a high demand, the power utility also has to import power from South Africa utility company, Eskom.

At the start of this year, Zesa’s debt to Eskom stood at $25 million which needs to be repaid at regular intervals.

If the power utility fails to raise this foreign currency, Eskom will not hesitate to switch off their supplementary feed to Zimbabwe.

This will greatly affect the country’s economy which greatly depends on electricity for production purposes.

If these public officials owe Zesa these huge amounts, what is also apparent is the fact that they possibly were not paying their rates to local authorities.

Municipalities must also take the legal route and ensure that politicians, government officials and other public figures pay their bills.

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