CHITUNGWIZA residents have rapped the Madzudzo Pawadyira-led caretaker commission for unleashing debt collectors on them.
BY ALBERT MASAKA
The three-member commission was appointed last year by then Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, following the suspension of the entire council on allegations of corruption.
Residents said the debt collectors were demanding astronomical charges and threatening to attach property for unpaid ratepayers. This comes as the debt collection firm — Wellcash Debt Collectors — recently had its contract terminated by Harare City Council following similar complaints by residents.
Resident and lawyer, Maraika Bomani, who recently assisted council’s efforts in rehabilitating roads told NewsDay yesterday that the timing of the move by council to bring in Wellcash Debt Collectors was suspicious.
“Residents are now suspicious of the moves by the Pawadyira-led commission, especially as we draw closer to elections. They have not done anything in Chitungwiza as far as service delivery is concerned to the extent that I was forced to chip in and help council to repair some roads but now they have deployed Wellcash Debt Collectors to collect money from estimated bills,” he said.
The Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural Residents’ Association said they would soon engage council to reverse the decision.
“The Chitungwiza municipality once hired Mangwana and Partners Debt Collectors and terminated their contract after objections from residents and stakeholders, who had lost their hard-earned money. We, therefore, urge affected residents to deal directly with Chitungwiza municipality on bill payments and not through any unscrupulous and dubious merchants or agents masquerading as debt collectors.
But council spokesperson Lovemore Meya defended the decision to hire debt collectors, saying the municipality was owed $60 million in unpaid rates.
He said the decision to hire debt collectors was a last ditch attempt to collect their dues after all other communication channels had been exhausted.