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Dry City: Massive Water Disconnections in Harare and Chitungwiza

As Harare residents and businesses brace for massive water cuts - exposed the plight of Chitungwiza locals under the corruption...

As Harare residents and businesses brace for massive water cuts - exposed the plight of Chitungwiza locals under the corruption prone and debt riddled Chitungiwza Town Council that is threatening to sell properties in lieu of millions it is owed by residents of the Harare dormitory town.

Harare city got the green light to disconnect defaulters without a court order, provided it follows provisions of the Harare (Water) By-laws S.164-1913, the High Court has ruled.

City by-law requires that council gives 24 hours notice to affected parties before disconnecting supplies.

Harare High Court, however, said where the bill was genuinely disputed, there should be recourse at the courts before council disconnected the water supply.

The judgment is likely to trigger massive domestic and industrial water disconnections to force residents and businesses — who collectively owe the city in excess of $500 million — to pay up their bills.
Water Problems Persist in Harare and Chitungwiza 

“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.

The court made the ruling in a case in which Harare lawyer, Mr Tinofara Hove, took Harare City Council to the High Court seeking to interdict the city from disconnecting his water supplies without a court order after accruing an $18 600 water bill.

The High Court noted that the Harare (Water) By-laws were still valid and could be applied by council provided it follows the provisions of the by-laws.

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.

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. - Herald

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