Residents call for boycott

via Residents call for boycott of council bills – NewsDay Zimbabwe. 16 June 2014 by Staff Reporter

June 16, 2014 in News

The Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) has threatened to mobilise its members to boycott paying council rates for the next three months in protest over lack of transparency and alleged mismanagement of funds at Town House.

HRT executive director Precious Shumba in a statement at the weekend said the residents were particularly angered by top council officials’ decision to divert part of the $144 million loan for the rehabilitation of water infrastructure towards the purchase of 25 luxury vehicles without councillors’ approval.

The HRT’s threats came at a time the local authority has taken 6 432 residents to court for failing to settle their water bills.
The city has engaged the Messenger of Court and private lawyers to recover more than $254 million owed by ratepayers.

Shumba said: “Under the loan agreement, the City of Harare was required to purchase only eight project vehicles to be used by project staff. Instead, they bought 25 luxury vehicles worth between $50 000 and $250 000 each which was allocated to senior council officials who have already benefited from another loan scheme covering employees in grades 1-4. The Chinese loan must be repaid by you, the ratepayer, with interest through your rates.”

Shumba added: “To stop this arrogant and unaccountable
behaviour at the Harare Town House, you are being (asked) to seriously consider stopping payments for all services by the City of Harare from end of June 2014 to August 2014.

“This forces them to be accountable and transparent in the utilisation of our funds — loans, rates and grants. Your co-operation in this regard will help in create a world-class city that we all want and can live happily in.”

But, council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi said: “We are issuing summons to defaulting residents. The Messenger of Court is going to deal with the matter on our behalf. We have referred some of the cases to our external lawyers.” Gwindi said those issued with summons should immediately make payment arrangements or risk their property being attached.

Residents owe the city $105 million, government $16 million, industry and commerce $130 million. Chitungwiza, Norton, Ruwa and Epworth owe a combined $3,4 million. The bulk of the debt amounting to $92 million was for water. The city collects an average of $11 million instead of a potential $24 million every month.

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 6
  • comment-avatar
    gwaya 8 years ago

    In adition to not paying bills, I propose that the residents contribute the amount which was due to HCC to counter the litigations by HCC collectively. How can residents be sued for HCC having failed to provide services. Instead the HCC and Chombo must be sued for not providing the residents with any form of services ranging from water, road pot holes and refuse collection.

  • comment-avatar
    zanupf fear me 8 years ago

    So when will the long awaited since 1998 boycott begin ?? 2047 ??? Zim a nation of talk discuss day dreaming…… but no no actions. Just all words

  • comment-avatar
    munzwa 8 years ago

    will you boycott @ zanupf fear me???

  • comment-avatar
    saundy 8 years ago

    A good option to let these people know that we mean business however like other contributors I have my doubts that it will receive the necessary support. The authorities love to make promises then do nothing while the residents love to complain but lack the courage to do the right thing.

  • comment-avatar
    Mscynic 8 years ago

    Summons politicians and state enterprises first. Let’s see if you have the
    B—s!

  • comment-avatar
    ivor payne 8 years ago

    Those issued with summonses do NOT risk having their property attached. That can only be done if the CoH gets a court order in their favour…most of the claims by the CoH can be defended as they cannot even begin to justify their bills…anyone receiving a summons should file an appearance to defend within the 7 day period and then file a “Request for Further Particulars” asking the City of Harare to detail how the bill has been calculated, most probably through estimates for water that was not in fact received. That will probably bring the matter to a grinding halt.