THE Harare City Council has commenced an operation to penalise residents that are illegally connected to its water grid, with offenders set to be fined at least $75 000.
The blitz is also targeting those that are using stolen water meters.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Harare City Council spokesperson Mr Innocent Ruwende said under the exercise, council would impose a mandatory minimum two-year penalty regardless of the period of connection.
“We are disconnecting everyone who might have been illegally connected. When they want to reconnect they have to pay for connecting illegally and tampering with water meters which is a serious offence.
“Therefore, we are going to charge them for accessing water for two years, regardless of the period they would have connected. We are using a standard measurement of 20 cubic metres which costs $3 140. This means that the minimum that an offender has to pay is $3 140 multiplied by 24 months, which is about $75 000.”
Ratepayers owe council more than $13 billion in unpaid rates.
According to a schedule provided to The Sunday Mail, ordinary residents owe the Harare City Council $5 billion, commercial clients have a debt of $3, 8 billion while industry is $2, 2 billion in the red.
Government owes $507, 5 million while the debts for sundry and miscellaneous are pegged at $1, 9 billion.