City of Harare Attaching Residents’ Property

In a sudden turn of events, the Harare City Council has commenced an operation property attachment from residents who owe the council money accrued from un-serviced debts. The Treasurer’s office has directed the Messenger of Court to attach property belonging to those with outstanding debts. This action, comes barely three months after residents were served with final letters of demands which also stipulated the imminent property attachments. Residents owe the City an average of 60 million

However experts in public policy and service provision have described the debt owed by residents as a bad debt which cannot be recovered. This operation has begun in Mabvuku where at least 30 identified families have fallen victim to this exercise. It is quite ironic and immoral that while residents in Mabvuku went for 5 years without running water the COH has the audacity to attach property over an illegitimate debt. City of Harare has maintained that as long there is a pipe connection, even without running water, residents are obliged to pay fixed charges, which range from USD$5-10.

It is also puzzling why the COH has not attached government property yet they are owed in excess of USD 80 million dollars. The Association is reliably informed that Army barracks and police stations are amongst other government departments which are not paying anything to council for the water and other services they are using. A study carried out by Mercy-Corps has indicated that at least 50% of residents in Harare owe either ZESA or City council huge sums of money because of the high levels of unemployment and poverty levels.

What is CHRA doing about the property attachments?

ü CHRA has already taken up this issue with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and will be taking the COH to court.

ü An emergency meeting with the Mayor has been requested for tomorrow at Town house. CHRA will present its concerns on the matter and hopefully a consensus will be reached in favour of residents.

ü If the Harare city council fails to give in, then residents shall come out in their numbers demanding council to stop attaching their properties.

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