Council to name, shame bigwig debtors

Source: Council to name, shame bigwig debtors – DailyNews Live

Helen Kadirire      26 April 2017

HARARE – Harare City Council (HCC) is considering naming and shaming
prominent residents who are not settling their ballooning rates and
rentals arrears.

This comes as the local authority is owed $600 million-plus by residents,
industry and the government.

In the latest council minutes, HCC’s finance director Tendai Kwenda said
while debt collections from residents had improved, some debtors were
reluctant to pay.

“During discussions with councillors from the finance committee, they
raised concern that council had to also consider naming and shaming of
some prominent people,” he said, adding that “Responses from industry and
commercial properties were rather poor in comparison with domestic
properties due to closure of most companies”.

The finance director said to ensure effective collection, HCC-hired debt
collectors had undergone induction exercises on how to deal with the
different economic demographics in society.

Kwenda said council was also reconsidering the 10 percent commission being
paid by ratepayers to the debt collectors due to mounting complaints.

“As debt collecting has become topical, we need to ensure that complaints
regarding bills and services from residents are adequately addressed,
hence the need to make sure that all payments made to debt collectors are
reflected on all bills,” he said.

The HCC-contracted debt collectors have so far recovered more than $5
million in revenue.

HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme has said they will continue using the
debt collectors because revenue collection figures were showing marked

He said disengaging the debt collectors would only be done after a full
council resolution, as per council standing orders and rules.

“The debt collectors are proving to be very effective. Collection figures
vary from week to week and according to residents pay dates.

“In some weeks it can be $50 000, while in others it can go up to more
than $200 000,” he said.

To assist in debt recovery, HCC also bought 25 vehicles at more than $21
000 apiece, a move residents felt was ill-planned and unnecessary.