Attachment of property no solution-Harare told.

The Harare Residents Trust (HRT) has advised City Fathers to stop the process of attaching and auctioning belonging to residents who have defaulted in water and rates payment.

“Owing to the faulty billing system at the council’s treasury office and the obvious lack of service to residents, the Harare Residents Trust strongly objects to the idea of attaching and auctioning properties.

“Harare residents have gone for years without proper access to water and sanitation, transparent address of their housing needs, roads and street lighting have not been repaired or maintained, garbage has been left to rot in piles in residential as well as industrial areas yet the residents continue to be unjustifiably charged for these services,” a statement from HRT said.

The statement said while it may appear that the Council is trying to solve one problem by repossessing residents’ property in order to recover what they are owed, they are in fact creating a bigger housing challenge.

“This will result in the sprouting of squatter camps, the failure to pay rentals by citizens is a symptom and not the root problem- their socio-economic status is.

“ Without regular incomes there is no way residents will settle their debts, and without a sustainable policy of investing in alternative ways of raising revenue the City of Harare will continue to depend on poor residents for incomes,” the residents group said.

It said instead Council should accept residents’ payment plans and offer a certain percentage discount to those residents who are loyal to their plans.

“This would be of mutual benefit to the council and the residents who will over time be able to clear their debts and council would gradually recover what it is owed.

“The HRT will not stand by and watch the council take advantage of residents, and hence residents have agreed to undertake massive actions against the City of Harare that involve engagement, mass demonstrations and litigation,” HRT said.

Leslie Gwindi however said the city had given defaulters enough time and communication but those that had been handed over to legal processes will have to go through that.

“We cannot then withdraw the legal process unless there is good reason to do so, and it should be noted that the city is not going through the legal process by design bit by default,” Gwindi said.

There have been reports of accidents and muggings in Harare allegedly cause by overgrown grass because some signs are not visible and pathways have grown into bushes.

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