Free labour to settle council debts 

Source: Free labour to settle council debts – Sunday News February 18, 2018

Michael Magoronga, Kwekwe Correspondent
REDCLIFF Municipality has engaged ratepayers who owe the local authority money to offer different services to the council as a way of settling the debts.

The debt set off programme is targeting to clear more than $500 000 owed to the local authority by ratepayers and will see skilled and non-skilled workers offering services to council for free. Redcliff is owed more than $15 million by Government, companies and individuals. Redcliff Mayor Councillor Freddy Kapuya said the debt set off programme was an easy way of making people and companies pay what they owe the cash-strapped council.

“This is a programme whereby those who owe council offer services to the council and instead of paying them, we simply deduct the money for their debt. The programme has already begun and we invite anyone who is willing to come forward,” he said.

Clr Kapuya said both skilled and non-skilled people were eligible.

“The arrangement is open to anyone who owes council both skilled and non-skilled people. We took into cognisance the fact that we have widows who owe us money who can no longer fend for themselves,” he said.

Clr Kapuya said the local authority has already engaged some artisans who are working on road maintenance and public lighting repairs.

“Currently we have electricians who used to work for Ziscosteel who are working on our public lighting project. We also have another group that is working on our water pipe repairs project and so on. We also have the elderly that are cleaning up the streets. The people who offer different services approach council with their proposals and how much they charge. But instead of paying them we simply deduct from what they owe council that is the arrangement,” he said.

He said the idea came after they discovered that it was difficult for many ratepayers in the town to settle their bills owing to operational challenges at Ziscosteel. The giant steel making company, which is set to reopen after the Government’s efforts to engage a Korean investor, employs more than 5 000 people, the majority who reside in Redcliff.