BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
GWERU City Council says it is taking legal action and disconnecting water to defaulting ratepayers, Southern Eye has established.
In a statement last Friday, the local authority said the move was necessitated by dwindling revenue inflows.
“Due to our depleted revenue inflows, the Gweru council will be taking drastic measures to collect revenue to enhance service delivery from 22 November 2021,” the council statement read in part.
“We kindly urge our valued residents, clients and stakeholders to pay their bills to avoid being penalised.”
Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Development Association Trust executive director David Chikore urged council to reduce the cost of water supply to consumers.
“We have always said there is need for council not to over-rely on electricity but find alternative energy sources such as solar at its water treatment plants to reduce the cost of water supplies to consumers,” Chikore said.
“If water supply cost is low, council can then charge affordable tariffs to residents. Ratepayers are not immune to the COVID-19 pandemic-induced economic challenges.”
Chikore said penalising residents was not a “viable option” as there was need to employ strategies that ensured ratepayers felt obligated to pay.
The local authority recently said it was owed nearly $1 billion in unpaid bills. In May council sued at least 100 ratepayers with over $2 million outstanding debts dating back to October 2019.
Council, however, suspended attaching defaulters’ property after the intervention of residents associations.