DEPUTY mayor Gift Banda yesterday said the Bulawayo City Council has resolved to sue all defaulting ratepayers as it struggles to collect bills from residents.
He said this was a last resort as the local authority continues to struggle to get money from defaulting residents due to a national policy barring local authorities from disconnecting defaulting ratepayers.
Banda said residents owed the local authority millions of dollars, but would not disclose the exact amount, saying this had crippled service delivery in the city.
“As it is, the council is struggling in many ways ranging from service delivery to even meeting its wage bill, among other things,” he said.
Banda said the government’s policy was that councils should not disconnect services to ordinary citizens, but should engage and encourage them to pay their bills, which has made some residents lethargic when it came to settling bills.
“The policy itself is not friendly to our systems, if people expect us to deliver,” he said.
“We continue to engage ratepayers, but most of them do not honour the contracts we have with them and they decide not to pay.
“This has led council to resolve such problems by dragging residents to court and attaching properties.”
Banda said they had since resorted to taking legal action on residents who did not settle their debts.
The local authority has been struggling financially over the past years, with its offices being disconnected by Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) due to failure to settle its power bill.