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Bulawayo water disconnections to continue in earnest

Bulawayo City Council will this weekend continue to disconnect water supplies in some parts of the city to force defaulting ratepayers to settle their debts.

The local authority is owed millions of dollars by both residents and commercial entities, with some reaching close to a year without paying anything.

In a statement released Thursday, Acting Town Clerk Sikhangele Zhou, warned rate payers who reside in Ward 1, Ward 5 and Ward 6 of the looming disconnections that would take place from September 14 to 15, 2019.  

“Disconnections for this weekend, will focus on Wards 1, which is the city centre, and Ward 5 comprising of Hillside, Fourwinds, Hilcrest, Famona, Morningside and the surrounding areas. In Ward 6 areas to be covered are Bellevue, Newton West, Barham Green, Montrose, Southworld and the surrounding areas,” she said.

Zhou urged individuals and businesses with outstanding debts to settle them immediately or risk having their water disconnected.

“The Revenue Hall will be open on the same dates, which is a weekend, between 8AM and 5PM to facilitate payments for those who wish to clear their debts. Mobile phone platforms and bank transfers can also be made use of to make payments,” said the council official.

If residents faced challenges in making full payments, Zhou advised them to approach the city council for negotiations on payment plans in order to avoid the cuts.

“We encourage residents to approach any of council’s revenue offices and enter into a payment arrangement that will protect them against any of the recovery measures undertaken.

“Ideally, a payment arrangement acceptable to council involves an initial payment of 10 percent of the total outstanding debt followed thereafter by making monthly payments of current bill plus 10 percent (minimum) of the outstanding debt until it is paid in full,” Zhou stated.

The Acting Town Clerk said honouring the payment plans would protecting those who were in arrears from council’s recovery measures, besides it would help in making sure their accounts were interest free.

But in the previous council meeting, councillors reprimanded the council financial department for turning away residents who had less than 50 percent of what they owed.

This was despite council saying residents could pay at least ten percent of what they owed.

Councillors said the council needed to understand that residents faced economic challenges and whatever amount was paid could still count.

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