Implement mayors’ directive urgently and save residents from extortion

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) would like to express dismay over the continued engagement of Wellcash Debt Collectors by the City of Harare despite a directive by the Mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni to suspend the debt collectors’ contract.

Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni

The disregard of Mayor Manyenyeni’s directive comes at a time Wellcash debt collectors have been terrorizing and extorting residents who owe the City of Harare in unpaid water bills.

This week, CHRA has received complaints from residents of Tafara, Highfield and Mabvuku who have been threatened with attachment of their property by Wellcash Debt Collectors.

In as much as we appreciate that residents cannot run away from their obligation to pay for services rendered to council, CHRA is concerned that debt collectors are charging residents an extra 10 percent of what they owe to council.

This is a clear act of extortion.

On top of this, some residents have lost property to the debt collectors despite the fact that in Zimbabwe, there is no Act of Parliament that empowers debt collectors to issue threats or attach property on behalf of creditors.

Some of the residents who have been served with letters of final demand by the debt collectors have not been receiving water for years and it boggles the mind why the City of Harare would like to claim payment for services not rendered.

CHRA calls upon Harare City councilors to be responsive to the plight of residents who continue to fall victim to the acts of extortion by Wellcash Debt Collectors.

Speedy implementation of Mayor Manyenyeni’s directive is critical to ensure residents do not continue to lose their property and hard earned cash.

CHRA fully supports Mayor Manyenyeni’s stance on the need to halt the operations of Wellcash Debt Collectors.

According to Mayor Manyenyeni, the move to unleash debt collectors on residents is not justified for the following reasons;

  • “There appears to be a perceived bias towards the lower income suburbs of the city whose targets are largely victims of the current economic environment.”
  • “The debt recovery methods employed so far have been reportedly brutal or at best arrogant.”
  • “The yields from the exercise are reportedly way below the true values of the assets sold and also below the amounts owed.”
  • “The correctness of outstanding debts to council is contested for a significant number of the rate payers targeted, especially for water accounts to residents who are not receiving water supply at all.”
  • “We have not come clean on the chicken-egg argument by the targeted ratepayers challenging council about service delivery.”
  • “We have very little moral ground to demand these amounts from suffering residents when our cost structure is far from satisfactory.”
  • “It is not convincing to squeeze money from the poor residents in order to allocate over 70 percent of that hard earned cash to salaries of our employees who are known to be over-remunerated”.

CHRA reiterates its call for residents to resist Wellcash Debt Collectors and make payment plans with the Harare City Council.

‘Resist debt collectors’

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