Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
KWEKWE City Council has engaged debt collectors to recover $46 million the local authority is owed by ratepayers, the Mayor, Councillor Angeline Kasipo, has said.
Clr Kasipo said residents owe Kwekwe City $26 million while Redcliff town owes $3 million.
Industry accounts for the remaining debt.
Clr Kasipo said the local authority was operating in the red and has since engaged lawyers to recover the debt.
“We have engaged Mutatu and Partners as well as Wilmot and Bennet as we try to recover the money the council is owed by ratepayers. We realised that some residents were reluctant to service their accounts with council, a development that has left us with no option but to sue as we strive to keep delivering the desired services,” she said.
Meanwhile, council lawyers have written to debtors giving them a seven-day ultimatum to pay up.
“We act on behalf of the City of Kwekwe. We have instructions that as at March 2019 you are indebted to our client in respect of water and rates bills. We are instructed to demand as we hereby do payment together with our collection commission within the next seven days thereof. If you fail to do so we shall proceed to court without further notice,” read part of the letter from Mutatu and Partners written to residents.
The move to engage lawyers by Kwekwe city council follows recommendations by the local authority’s review committee that there was a need to step up efforts to recover council debts.
Chairperson of the review committee, Mr Shangwa Mavesera, who is also Bindura Town Clerk, said: “There is no service delivery without the ratepayers paying their bills. As a recommendation, Kwekwe is therefore urged to step up efforts to recover what they are owed by the ratepayers for service delivery to improve.”
He said there was a need for serious dialogue between Kwekwe City and Redcliff Town Council to manage the latter’s bill.