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Gweru to penalise defaulters

by Staff reporter
04 Jan 2021 at 22:26hrs | Views
GWERU City Council has imposed a 19% interest charge on defaulting ratepayers as the debtors' bill continues to balloon, a senior council official has said.

Presenting on the council's end of year financial performance last week, mayor Josiah Makombe said the local authority would penalise defaulters while rewarding paid-up ratepayers.

"Our residents seem to have shunned the goodwill shown by council as they are not honouring bills, resulting in debtors as at November 30 2020 accumulating to $277 719 803 (from $250 million in September 2020)," Makombe said.

"Sadly the trend is going up and my council has resolved to levy interest of 19% per annum on defaulters and award a 20% discount on up-to-date ratepayers' monthly bills."

He added: "My information technology section is working on modalities and very soon residents will be receiving statements reflecting the interest element. It is, therefore, in the best interest of residents to bring their accounts up to date before they are caught in this dragnet."

Makombe said it was disheartening that those who "cry a lot for service delivery" constituted the biggest number of defaulters.

He said from this month council would employ tough debt collection measures in order to improve service delivery.

The city boss said the COVID-19 pandemic had also affected council's revenue streams particularly from fees paid by vendors whose market stalls were closed at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in March last year.

But Gweru United Progressive Residents and Ratepayers Development Association Trust executive director David Chikore said council needed to urgently introduce itemised bills to encourage residents to pay.

Source - newsday