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Attachment of residents' houses displays CCC's heartless agenda

by Tonderai Ndoro
04 Jun 2024 at 03:28hrs | Views
Harare City Council
The decision by the Harare City Council (HCC) to take drastic measures against low-income residents who are struggling to pay their monthly rates by attaching over 50 properties due to non-payment, has been criticized.

Critics say the move has affected numerous households who are already facing financial difficulties, and that the situation is likely to worsen as the council continues to crack down on overdue accounts.

According to sources, more than 4,000 ratepayers with outstanding balances exceeding 60 days have received court summonses, indicating that the council is determined to recover the debts by whatever means.

The sources say If the ratepayers fail to settle their accounts, warrants of execution will be issued, allowing the council to seize their properties and assets to recover the owed amounts.

This situation has sparked grave concerns about the well-being of the affected residents, who may be compelled to forfeit their homes and possessions due to circumstances beyond their control.

Levy Magura, a political commentator says the attachment of properties and issuance of court summonses may further aggravate the already precarious economic conditions in Harare, leaving numerous families exposed and without a financial safety net.

"This could lead to a humanitarian crisis, exacerbating poverty, homelessness, and social unrest. The council's actions may perpetuate a cycle of poverty, making it even more challenging for residents to recover from their financial struggles," says Magura.

Mavis Moyo, a lecturer at a local university says: "The Harare City Council's decision to attach properties and issue court summonses has raised concerns about the fairness and sensitivity of their approach. The move is too harsh and unjust, particularly since the council is not providing sufficient services to these communities."

She adds that instead of punitive measures, the council should explore alternative solutions to support low-income residents struggling to pay their rates.

As the situation develops, it remains to be seen how the council will balance its debt recovery efforts with the need to protect the welfare of its residents. Critics have urged the council to find a more compassionate and sustainable approach that addresses the root causes of non-payment and supports the well-being of all residents.

McDonald Murombo, a political commentator comments that the opposition-led council appears to be unsympathetic to the residents' struggles, disregarding the socio-economic challenges they face and prioritizing revenue collection over their well-being.

"Ironically, the economic sanctions that the opposition advocated for are now hindering residents from paying their rates. Essentially, the residents are being penalized for a situation that the opposition created for political gain," Murombo adds.

A former opposition councilor who refused to be named says instead of punishing residents, the council should address the root causes of non-payment, such as unemployment, poverty, and lack of access to basic services like water, sanitation, and healthcare - all of which are exacerbated by the sanctions and the council's own inefficiencies.

"Attaching homes is an extreme measure, particularly when other options, such as payment plans or community engagement, have not been fully explored. Instead, the council could engage with residents to understand their challenges, prioritize service delivery in marginalized areas, and explore alternative revenue streams," says the former councilor.

She adds that the council could optionally address the root causes of non-payment, offering alternatives to seizing homes of low-income residents. By adopting a more empathetic and holistic approach, she says, the council can find more effective and sustainable solutions that benefit both the residents and the community.

The opposition's cruel measures, despite their claims of being pro-poor, are quite revealing. This development serves as a warning to the electorate of what they can expect if they mistakenly vote that party into power.

In contrast, Zanu PF has consistently shown sympathy towards the residents. In the past, the Zanu PF government even directed the council to cancel residents' debts to alleviate their suffering during the sanctions-induced hardships.
 Currently, the government is stepping in to provide services that the opposition-led council has failed to deliver, demonstrating a commitment to the well-being of the residents
Meanwhile, the Government will soon issue 100 000 title deeds to homeowners in Chitungwiza, Southlea Park and Epworth under the Presidential Title Deeds and Settlement Regularization Programme that would leave homeowners securely settled in their addresses.

Source - Tonderai Ndoro