Scrap all Debts from February 2009

The Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) is urging residents of Harare to massively demand accountability and transparency in the utilisation of council resources in the wake of threats by Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda that the council would attach properties of defaulters.

The Mayor has repeatedly made comments that undermine public confidence in the institution of council. The threat to attach residents’ properties is misguided, and represents arrogance, which the HRT has come to associate with the Mayor of Harare, who assumes he has a solution to every problem that the city and residents have.

This HRT‘s action is informed by the following key issues that the council is directly responsible;

• The council is imposing its budget in citizens without their input.

• Refuse collection across the areas is inconsistent.

• Water meters are dysfunctional in most areas and the water charges are based on estimates.

• City heads of departments still earn far beyond what the residents of Harare can pay. If Masunda is in agreement with his heads of departments that they can earn between US$10 000 and US$18 000.

• If the City of Harare is so desperate to recover its debt, it must first recover it from Government department, business and industry and not individual consumers. The majority of residents are out of jobs to sustain themselves and cannot be expected to fully pay the debts.

• City employees at the District Offices should stop refusing residents money. Residents continue to report that revenue officers at District Offices are refusing to accept ‘small amounts of money’ yet the council is telling the world that it is broke. The little that residents can pay should be accepted, otherwise more residents will fail to pay.

In light of the above issues, the HRT states below its position:

1. The City of Harare is urged to scrap all debts accrued from February 2009- December 2010, when most people were unable to pay their dues.

2. The City has to engage all stakeholders on finding alternative ways of raising revenue in Harare and improving service provision. It is in the interest of the HRT to ensure sustainable development.

3. The City Treasurer has failed to help the City of Harare generate enough revenue through other creative means. Relying on residents is not ideal for a city of Harare’s magnitude. His rigid approach to public affairs represents a disservice to residents. Let incompetent people leave the employ of council and elevate those who can service residents better from the ranks in the Treasury Department.

4. The more the City of Harare threatens residents with legal action, the more the HRT urges residents not to settle their debts.

Our demand: Scrap all Debts from February 2009- December 2010!

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