MDC-T orders council to terminate debt collectors’ contract

THE opposition MDC-T has ordered Harare City Council management to cancel its contracts with private debt collectors following an outcry from residents, who protested the attachment of their properties over unpaid bills.

Source: MDC-T orders council to terminate debt collectors’ contract – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 28, 2017

BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

The MDC-T-dominated council, which is owed $600 million by ratepayers, recently roped in debt collectors to help recover the money, but the move has angered residents, who accused the opposition party of failing to defend them.
“We are glad to advise that it’s just a matter of a few days before the debt collectors’ contracts are withdrawn,” MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said yesterday.

“Council has always had other lawful and legitimate means of collecting revenue from residents, instead of unleashing bouncers and thugs masquerading as debt collectors.”

Harare mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni confirmed the city was relooking at the debt collectors’ issue, which has mainly affected the poor.

“There had been an outcry. The duty to meet your obligations, as a ratepayer, should never be abandoned. More critically is the agony facing those handed over to debt collectors,” he said.

“Most of the affected are low- income people, whose few assets we are selling in order to pay salaries to our over-paid employees. Our collective conscience needs to be checked.”

Government departments and corporates owe council more than $355 million, but they have been spared the wrath of debt collectors.

Council spokesperson, Michael Chideme said the local authority would continue to engage unpaid debtors to come up with a payment plan.

“With the government departments, we have an arrangement that Treasury and other statutory payments would be squared off between the parties,” he said.

Last week, constitutional law expert, Lovemore Madhuku said it was illegal for councils to unleash private debt collectors on unpaid ratepayers.

COMMENTS

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    Cypriano 5 years ago

    MDC has done the right thing and hope they will live up to their word.This is political maturity and in politics you need to be calculative so that the decisions a party makes does not affect the voting numbers.By engaging Wellcash debt collectors,that was political suicide as Zanupf was going to come in as sympathetic and then halt the debt collectors from taking the residents’ properties.The residents will then view zanupf as their saviour and I bet my last dollar that MDCT was going to loose half of harare seats in 2018.I owe the council some money and was on payment plan and still got the letter of demand from the debt so this was a way to swindle people oftheir monies.MDCT please listen to your people!