Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Correspondent
Harare City Council debtors might soon have a portion of the money they owe council being deducted from their electricity payments if council follows through its proposal to assist it to recover about $1 billion that its owed by ratepayers.
Speaking on the sidelines of a special council meeting on Monday, Harare Town Clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango said council had devised a cocktail of measures to recover its debt.
“We are owed a lot of money, and we want to devise new ways of recovering that debt. Among the possibilities is that we may engage Zesa so that when somebody pays for electricity, there is a certain percentage that goes towards our debt.
“Zesa has successfully managed to recover what they are owed through this system,” he said.
Eng Chisango said if the city’s proposal to Zesa fails, it was planning to recover its debt through its own prepaid meter system.
“There are deals that we want to engage in, and they involve installation of prepaid water meters so we have got another way where when we install prepaid meters, we are able to collect.
“When one pays for water, we might take maybe 10 percent of what we are owed.
“We will look at it very closely, depending on the amounts that people pay, then we can spread it over the months,” he said.
The amount that the city is owed ballooned over the past months when the city spent close to six months without a billing system.
Ratepayers were reportedly failing to access bills over that period, a move that discouraged a section from paying their dues.