Harare Owed $17b, Blacklists Debtors
THE City of Harare is owed over ZW$17 billion in unpaid rents, rates, and other supplementary municipal charges, and will henceforth blacklist defaulters.
The local authority is owed large sums of money in unpaid bills by government departments, businesses and residents, a situation which has resulted in it failing to provide basic services and pay workers’ salaries on time.
In a Twitter post-Wednesday, the council said: “Dear Residents, Council is blacklisting individuals, companies, and their directors for non-payment of municipal bills. Blacklisted entities and individuals will not open accounts and borrow from banks. The council is owed ZW$17 billion. Pay your bills to rebuild Harare.”
As of last year, properties in high-density suburbs owed the city ZW$1,03 billion, while low-density suburbs carried a ZW$1,5 billion. Industrial or commercial properties were indebted to the tune of ZW$3,1 billion. Also, the government owed the city ZW$191 million.
Residents and ratepayers have repeatedly argued poor, and at times non-existent services dissuaded them from paying the municipality.
The situation has resulted in the hamstrung council failing to collect mounting garbage in the suburbs, treat adequate water supplies, fix potholed roads, among other challenges.
Efforts to get further details on the matter from the city’s corporate communications manager, Michael Chideme, were fruitless at the time of publishing.