Gweru City Council is taking drastic measures to force ratepayers to settle their outstanding bills.
Gweru City Council Public Relations Officer Vimbai Chingwaramusee told TellZim News that the local authority is taking the legal route to force debtors to settle their bills.
Several households in the Senga suburb had their properties attached by the messenger of court after Gweru City Council approached the courts to force them to settle their bills.
Chingwaramusee said as of 31 December 2021, the local authority was owed ZW$1.1 billion by ratepayers in unpaid bills. The figure has since ballooned to about ZW$ 1.7 billion. Said Chingwaramusee:
Yes, I can confirm that 10 residents had their property attached last week as the local authority engages in litigation to force them to settle their debts.
It is an ongoing process and we encourage residents to settle their bills or approach council for payment plans.
Attaching property is the last action that council takes.
No one can be caught unaware because before going to the courts, council sends letters of debt notification to the clients.
Upon receiving those letters, normally clients take action and come to make payment plans. If nothing is done, then council takes the legal route.
As a council we have an open-door policy hence we encourage residents to make payment plans to avoid the legal route.
Chingwaramusee added that Gweru owes its creditors over ZW$300 million and if residents pay their bills, the local authority would repay its creditors and would use the balance for service delivery. She added:
We continue issuing final demand letters and for those who do not respond, we take the legal route culminating in the issuance of summons.