The city of Harare has claimed that at least 80 000 households have not been paying their water bills since 2013, in the hope that the government will order the council to cancel outstanding water debts for residents in the run up to the 2018 elections. In 2013, before harmonised elections were held, then Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development Ignatius Chombo ordered the local authorities to cancel all debts owed by residents.
Speaking at a council debt management strategy meeting, Harare City Council spokesman Michael Chideme said:
Our investigations have shown us that there are 80,000 households which have not paid their rates since that period and they are hoping that the same amnesty is going to be extended to them because of the impending national elections.
Chideme revealed that council had opted to engage private debt collectors in an effort to recover the money owing, although Universty of Zimbabwe law lecturer Professor Lovemore Madhuku urged residents to beat up the debt collectors to protect their property because the actions of the debt collectors are illegal. Madhuku added that he would provide representation for such people, in case the debt collectors reported to the police.
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