THE Victoria Falls Town Council owes the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) and Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) a combined total of $1,2 million in charges, a debt the municipality blames on the government directive to scrap residents’ debts.
The financially embattled local authority scrapped $3,6 million owed by residents in September 2013 and council said that had seriously backfired as it was now struggling to meet its obligations. Town clerk Phillip Ndlovu confirmed the council owes the two entities, but would not provide figures saying he was out of the office.
“I am in Gweru, phone me on Monday (today) so that I give you the exact figures and strategies put in place to settle the bills,” he said.
The resort town’s council has been losing millions in revenue for the past 14 years in uncollected property tax after failing to regularise the use of land along the Zambezi River corridor.
The council also reportedly maintained a flawed database of its properties resulting in it losing millions of dollars in revenue since it gained town status in 1999. An audit revealed that there were a number of council properties that were being sublet by individuals with the local authority getting nothing from tenants.
The situation has gravely affected the council’s operations resulting in it failing to pay its approximately 300 employees on time.
Employees have in the past engaged in sporadic strikes demanding payment and the matter at one point spilled into the Labour Court.