Harare – Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST) a residents association for people living in Chitungwiza rhas applauded the recent move by the Urban Councils’ Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) to name shame big wigs who are fleecing residents.
Urban Councils’ Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) which is led by the Harare Mayor Benard Manyenyeni recently announced that they would name and shame big wigs who can’t pay rates.
City councils are currently owed millions of dollars by the citizens and the central government but the residents trust said the move to name politicians was welcome.
“CHITREST applauds the position recently taken by the Urban Councils’ Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) of naming and shaming senior politicians and business executives whose outstanding rates bills have crippled council operations,” said the association in a statement.
The organization added that it was clear government is the main culprit in defaulting payment of debt such crippling council.
“The revelation by the UCAZ President, Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni, that some government
departments, senior politicians and other business executives are the chief culprits in not honouring their bills vindicates people in most high density areas who were being branded as major defaulters in the payment of their council dues,” they said.
The resident association said although this move came very late it would go a long way in dealing with the problems of the local authorities.
“Although this realization is coming a bit too late, after the accumulation of huge debts by some bigwigs, it is a progressive move to reduce complacency on the part of some powerful figures in terms of honouring their monthly obligations to local authorities,,” they said.
The residents councils they said have misrepresented the fact that it was ordinary citizens who owed the local authorities when in fact it was the central government.
“Most councils have been misrepresenting facts by claiming that ordinary citizens are the biggest defaulters, whereas the major culprits are government departments, some senior politicians and other
business executives as revealed by UCAZ,”
“As of March 31 this year, the government owed more than $36 million to local authorities in outstanding water and rates payments resulting in most councils failing to pay their employees’ salaries and negatively affecting the state of service delivery in most areas, particularly urban local authorities,” they said.
Amongst the major creditors then were Harare and Masvingo both owed more than $16 million as well as Bulawayo and Chitungwiza owed more than $1 million.
Most local authorities across the country are struggling to provide services such as water and sewer as they are owed huge amounts by some chefs in government and parastatals.
The figures as released by UCAZ last week reflects that these arrears by government departments, some senior politicians and other business executives continue to rise at an alarming rate. Currently, Harare is owed more than $400 million, Bulawayo more than $110 million and Masvingo more than $30 million.
“CHITREST therefore urges all responsible citizens including politicians, business executives and government departmental heads to pay their dues so that councils’ revenue flows improves and increase allocations towards service,” they said.