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Rates War: Council to 'Sell Homes' to Recover Debt

Harare – Corruption prone and debt riddled Chitungiwza Town Council is threatened to sell properties in lieu of millions it is owed by resi...

Harare – Corruption prone and debt riddled Chitungiwza Town Council is threatened to sell properties in lieu of millions it is owed by residents of the Harare dormitory town.

The municipality which has frequently failed to remunerate its workforce is saddled with mammoth debts, lack of service delivery and wide-ranging malpractice.

“Following your failure to respond to our letter of demand, please be warned that the council has authority to take you to court as prescribed in the letter of demand served to you,” said a circular signed by Paul Mangwana.

Mangwana is a former minister and Member of Parliament for the ruling party representing the debt collector, Mangwana and Partners.
Persistent Sewage and Water Problems have Rocked Chitungwiza Municipality 

Successive municipality administrators have milked the town’s coffers dry – and at one stage employees went for a marathon 20 months without salaries.

In the meantime, the Town Clerk enjoyed perks totaling to $12 000 a month in addition to a car valued at $70 000.

In his egoistic reasoning, he said: "I am driving a car that has a mileage of 297 000km, I was supposed to get two cars when I started my term of office but I only got one.

“This is unfair, people should learn to appreciate, they are not paying rates but they expect service delivery." 

Former Chitungwiza Town Clerk Godfrey Tanyanyiwa was found guilty in 2013 – and jailed for an effective two and half years in prison for swindling the town council of US$80 000.

Chitungwiza Residents Trust believes vice has become a perpetual cancer within the council. .

“This (alleged corruption) has negatively affected the state of social service delivery in the town as the elected officials and Council staff focuses on corrupt activities and amassing wealth at the expense of residents.”

The communiqué seeking to recover millions owned by rate payers also threatens to reposes movable property and houses. Residents have however argued that they are not going to yield to the demands due to lack of proper service deliveries like clean water.

“We are not going to pay the rates, we only receive water supplies with a foul smell twice a week,” reasoned a dejected resident, Chiedza Mhangwa.

The largest form of fraud to rock town councils did not spare the town either as large tracts of land were allegedly grabbed for personal gain.

“Stands are being parcelled for less than the agreed and approved cost resulting in Council fuelling the illegal sale of land as those with connections are getting the stands for far much below council’s selling price and disposing them to desperate members of the public,” the residents’ representative said.

The debt collector is offering a reprieve for residents to negotiate a suitable payment plan, failure which will attract more costs plus legal proceedings

Meanwhile, the council has embarked on massive water disconnections to force residents to pay their dues.

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