via Chitungwiza rewards paid-up residents – DailyNews Live by Sharon Muguwu
The Chitungwiza Town Council is rewarding paid up residents by offering a 30 percent discount on current and future bills until December.
This comes after some residents who had paid their bills complained over a government directive calling for the scrapping of all outstanding debts accrued between February 2009 to June 2013.
“It is appreciated that relief was felt and enjoyed as we start afresh following the writing off of hitherto burdensome huge arrears relating to residential properties….council further feels indebted to say thank you to those who manage to keep their payments up to date,” town clerk, George Makunde said in a statement.
“Thus all residents and ratepayers who were up to date with their payment of dues to council, at the time when arrears were scrapped as at June 30, 2013 are set to benefit. They will be discounted at the rate of 30 percent on all their monthly bill payments up to December 31 2013,” he said.
Makunde said although the government directive did not extend to commercial and industrial debtors, the local authority would be writing off 40 percent of what is owed.
“It has also come to our attention that the commercial and industrial sector is also trapped and held up in the face of mounting outstanding bills.
“After wide consultations and considerations thereof, it has been agreed to extend a reprieve to that sector of the community.
“All those in the commercial and industrial sector have been allowed up to December 31, this year to clear their outstanding payments and benefit through a discount of 40 percent on such payments,” he said.
The order by outgoing Local Government minister, Ignatius Chombo received mixed reactions, with residents on one hand in support of the move while various local bodies accused him of cheap politicking.
Former Mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda opposed the move describing it as illegal, arguing councils would suffer as they needed the money to buy water treatment chemicals and cater for other operational costs.
Harare City Council was owed $400 million in water bills, unit tax, rentals, fees and levies by its residents.
The council has also announced the cancellation of a $14 million debt owed by the Chitungwiza municipality for water supply.
Several councils including Chinhoyi, Masvingo, and Murewa have complied with the order, with Bulawayo City Council still to implement the decree.