Ward 41 owes council $1,5bn in unpaid rates

30 Sep, 2022 - 00:09 0 Views
Ward 41 owes council $1,5bn in unpaid rates Harare acting finance director Godfrey Kusangaya (standing).


WARD 41 residents owe the City of Harare a whooping ZWL$1,5 billion in unpaid rates, figures provided by the municipality show.

Suburban Reporter 

Residents in other wards have described council’s figures as “phantom” while others have dismissed them as a joke given the municipality is billing ratepayers for non-delivered services particularly water and refuse collection.

Last week Ward 17 (Mt Pleasant) residents expressed frustration over the perennially chaotic billing at the City of Harare with the city continuing to bill them for non-delivered services and failing to capture payments made as well as the ever skyrocketing rates.  Ward 17 was reported to be owing more than ZWL$790 million.  

Reacting to a Suburban story on the Ward 17 figures, a resident from Ward 41 said the municipality’s billing inefficiencies were deliberate and meant to “camouflage dubious transactions” adding that council does not give residents proper bills and corresponding services lest the “gravy train comes to a screeching halt”.   

According to the city’s billing records, Ward 41’s 13 309 properties were billed for a total of ZWL$1 355 812 878 between January and July 2022 but the figure is now at a total of ZWL$1 575 523 915 because of the ward’s legacy debt.  Ratepayers in the ward paid a total of ZWL$551 669 962 during the period under review.

Bluff Hill and Westgate property owners owe a combined ZWL$462 429 155 to the City of Harare, the highest figure in the ward. The two suburbs have a total of 3 208 properties, which paid ZWL$161 147 255 from the billed ZWL$402 615 507. The two suburbs now owe ZWL$462 million after the legacy debt has been factored in.   

Marlborough property owners were billed ZWL$374 144 323 and paid ZWL$182 077 166 to remain owing ZWL$385 640 626 when the legacy debt has been included. Marlborough has a total of 3 957 properties.

The third highest amount of ZWL$350 215 928 is owed by a part of Tynwald which is under Ward 41 and has a total of 2 972 properties. The suburb was billed ZWL$267 507 475 but residents paid only ZWL$95 112 914.  

Good Hope ratepayers also owe a quite chunk of the Ward 41 debt as they are in debt to the tune of ZWL$152 662 69. The 1 169 properties in the suburb were billed a total of ZWL$110 962 268 and made payments totaling ZWL$29 317 715.

Adylinn property owners are in the red to the tune of ZWL$121 016 734. With a combined 1 239 properties, the suburb’s ratepayers were billed ZWL$103 624 576 and made payments of only ZWL$38 527 203.

The 276 property owners in Emerald Hill owe the City of Harare ZWL$64 227 988. They were billed ZWL$51 242 157 and paid only ZWL$17 329 364 while the 476 properties in Avonlea are in debt to the tune of ZWL$37 120 082. Avonlea ratepayers were billed ZWL$42 105 672 and paid ZWL$25 935 093, slightly above half of the billed amount. 

Ashbrittle ratepayers were billed ZLW$3 610 900 and paid ZWL$2 223 250 leaving them with debt of ZWL$2 210 711. The area has 12 properties.

Mr McDonald Magedi from the city’s finance department presented the figures to Ward 41 residents during a recent virtual pre-budget meeting.

A few months ago, a Ward 41 service delivery meeting heard that the ward was among the least paying wards in the city but the latest figures show an improvement. At that time most of the ward’s suburbs were way below 50 percent in terms of paying their rates with the exception of Ashbrittle, which was at 45 percent. 

In terms of physical payments, Adylinn was at 6 percent but is now at 30 percent, Avonlea was at 7 percent and now it is at 49 percent, Emerald Hill was at 2.66 percent and now 27 percent, Ashbrittle was at 45 percent and is now at 49 percent, Good Hope was at 1 percent but now is at 21 percent, Westgate/Bluff Hill was at 4 percent but has improved to 32 percent and Marlborough which was at 11 percent is now at 39 percent.

Speaking at the service delivery meeting then, Ward 41 Councillor Kudzai Kadzombe urged residents to pay rates to help council deliver services.

She said residents should desist from just complaining about lack of services when they were not paying their rates and service charges.

“We urge residents not to only complain but to also play their part through paying their rates. It is of concern that the percentage of defaulters keeps on growing with each month.”

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