Local authorities implement Chombo bills directive

Local authorities around Zimbabwe have complied with a recent directive given by Minister for Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, Ignatius Chombo, to cancel outstanding bills owed them by ratepayers.


Chombo ordered all 92 local authorities to give a reprieve to ratepayers by way of writing-off what they are owed by residents.

Marondera residents yesterday received monthly bill statements from the local authority, reflecting only the current charge.

Unlike the June statement, this month statements had outstanding bills slashed off.

Most households in high density suburbs of the town now have an average bill of $15, 00 due for payment.

Though residents interviewed by The Zimbabwean expressed mixed reactions to the amnesty, there was consensus that Chombo had relieved ratepayers in a big way.

“The amnesty brought a huge relief to struggling ratepayers, whose outstanding debts had ballooned well over $800, 00. At least starting from afresh is a good way forward, given that the majority of ratepayers are out of employment and struggling to access the United States of America dollars,” said a Dombotombo resident, Maria Munhenzwa.

Marondera Town Clerk, Josiah Musuwo, confirmed to The Zimbabwean that his local authority had complied with Minister Chombo’s directive.

“Yes, minister Chombo holds the highest office in the ministry responsible for local authorities and his directive stands. As Marondera, we have already complied with the minister’s instruction,” said Musuwo in a telephone interview.

Marondera was owed over $6, 5 million in outstanding bills by defaulting residents before the Chombo directive.

Inside sources at some local authorities said Chombo’s directive was yet to be discussed by their caretaker policy makers, since elected councilors had left office at the expiry of the GPA on June 29.

A top managerial official at Gwanda District Council said those responsible for implementing the Chombo directive like at other local authorities, were yet to make deliberations about the circular received from the minister.

Harare Town Clerk, Tendai Mahachi, said. “We are implementing the directive from Minister Chombo immediately.”

He said though outstanding household bills will be cancelled immediately, it might take some time before the bills statements issued by council reflect the new arrangement.

Efforts to get comment from Chitungwiza Town Council and others were fruitless.

Residents from across the country blamed local authorities for estimating what ratepayers owed them when Zimbabwe adopted the multi-currencies regime in 2009.

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