Electricity Debts Haunt City of Harare

Harare City Council is struggling to service its ZWL 1.9 million ballooning electricity debt largely emanating from water purification from Morton Jaffray Water Works. This was revealed during a Virtual Budget Performance Review Meeting held today which was attended by various stakeholders and City Officials from various departments.

Mrs. Musere, the Budgets Manager at the City of Harare explained that the City of Harare owes the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority ZWL1.9 million debt and that the City’s monthly electricity bill is now hovering around ZWL1.15 million with Morton Jaffrey water treatment plant contributing a larger chunk of the electricity costs.

“The City must come up with a strategy to curtail the electricity costs and in view of devolution, the local authority needs to consider providing its own electricity” , said Mr Matumbike the Director of Local Government Trust during the meeting.

In a bid to reduce the amounts the City owes its suppliers on goods and services, the City has come up with a wider range of tactics which include unleashing debt collectors, water disconnections, litigation, blacklisting, evictions and customer engagement.

On the engagement of debt collectors and water disconnections, Mr Hardlife Mudzingwa, the National Coordinator for Community Water Alliance encouraged the local authority to act lawfully and consider the implications of water disconnections during the COVID pandemic.

Some residents who participated in the Budget Performance Review Meeting called on Council to fix its billing system and increase efficiency in its banking halls as this boosted resident’s confidence to pay rates. The City of Harare is now owed ZWL10 billion as of June 2021 from ZWL2 billion as at January 2021.

CHRA calls upon stakeholders and the City of Harare to join hands in improving revenue inflows, and the government to disburse “devolution” funds as this will go a long way in financing capital projects for the City thereby improving service delivery.

Source: Combined Harare Residents Association

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