Sharon Chimenya, Masvingo Correspondent
THE Masvingo City Council is planning to set up a legal department which will be responsible for expediting debt collection as the local authority continue to battle a growing debtor book.
Mayor Councillor Collen Maboke said council was losing a lot of money due to late and non-payment and even some defaulters were deliberately paying after the value of the money had been eroded by inflation.
“Why can’t we open a legal department here that will deal with issues to do with debt collection,” he said.
He noted that outsourcing debt collectors was proving a problem as some of them were occupied with other cases and also take long to carry out the duties.
“Some lawyers move at their own pace, they might put the process of debt collection aside and focus on a murder case that will be bringing him more money,” he said.
Clr Maboke said a lot of people and companies owe the local authority huge amounts of money with others having resorted to the use of community boreholes.
“Some of the residents were saying during the budget consultations that they are no longer clearing their arears as they draw their water from the boreholes,” he said.
Ward 10 Councillor Senengerai Manyanga said the department must be set up immediately.
“Mayor, just direct the management to act upon this resolution. Give them a time frame that in the next full council meeting they should have conducted interviews for the post,” he said.
Masvingo City Council is owed more than $348 million by low density debtors and over $100 million by those in the high density.
“The report of the Acting Finance Director on high- and low-density debtors reconciliation for the months of July, August and September 2021 was considered. The low-density debtors reconciliation had an opening balance of $335,552,936.51 as at 30 September 2021 and closing balance on 30 September being $348 424 696.20 whilst the high density had an opening balance of $97,197,538.40, debts raised amounting to $9 602,801.19, total credits amounting to $35 267 218.11 and a closing balance of $101 533,121.48.
“On institutional debtors, it was suggested and agreed that His Worship the Mayor and Town Clerk be tasked to approach the parent Ministry to intervene such that defaulting Government departments may settle their bills timeously.
The Committee noted the need to enforce regulations regarding the drilling of boreholes in the commonage.
It was agreed that the meter reading exercise for November would collate information on illegal boreholes in the commonage and a report submitted to Council for consideration,” noted a report by the Finance and General Purposes Committee.
The Committee also noted the non-payment of school fees at council owned schools and the need to promote a culture of payment of school fees.