Gweru residents protest council decision

Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi

GWERU residents will today stage protests against council’s decision to hand them over to debt collectors for outstanding bills.

Stephen Chadenga
OWN Correspondent

The council last December engaged the services of debt collectors in a bid to recover money it was owed by defaulting ratepayers.

The cash-strapped municipality roped in law firm Danziger and Partners to collect the debts.

A letter from the law firm, seen by the Southern Eye dated November 19 2014 revealed that defaulting ratepayers were being asked to pay their dues and if they failed, their property would be attached.

“We have been instructed by our above client (Gweru City Council) to demand from you, as we hereby do, payment of the sum of $427 50, which is due in respect of rates and municipal services,” part of a letter sent to one of the residents reads.

“Unless we receive from you full payment of this amount through our offices within seven days of the date of the receipt of this letter .   .   .  will result in attachment and sale of your property in execution of judgment.”

But Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) chairperson, Cornelia Selipiwe, has since written to mayor Hamutendi Kombayi asking him to address them on the move to hand over defaulting ratepayers.

“We hereby request you (Kombayi) to come and address residents of Gweru on January 15 2015 at Mkoba administration offices pertaining the handing over of residents to lawyers by the city council,” part of the letter dated 13 January reads.

Residents demanded an address on the increase in tariffs in the 2015 budget and how the $20 pump levy was used by council.

The local authority is still owed $24 million by residents, the government and the business community.