Bulawayo City Council (BCC) Town Clerk Christopher Dube said the local authority will take drastic action that could see ratepayers losing their homes over unpaid bills.
BCC is owed over $1.1 billion by residents, businesses and Government departments in the city and its ballooning debt has left it technically insolvent as its debtors almost equal its creditors.
As of March 2021, the local authority was owed $1.13 billion while it owed $1.06 billion.
Dube told a media briefing on Tuesday that water disconnection was not an effective debt recovery strategy and Council will be forced to take radical measures to force ratepayers to clear their debts. He said:
We are not going to be using one strategy (water disconnections), we are going to use so many of these strategies.
First, we will disconnect you, if it doesn’t work, we will take you to court and, in the end, you will end up losing your property.
We try to conscientise our residents through various forms of media and also through our councillors.
We also try to make sure that the money that has accumulated through a 10 per cent retention scheme is also used in various wards so that people can understand that payments is good for everyone maybe that will also encourage the residents.
The serious one would be taking you to court and take away properties, unfortunately.
The Council is under fire from residents due to failure to attend to burst sewers on time, dilapidated road networks, failure to consistently provide water and collection of refuse.