Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has welcomed the move by Harare Mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni to order acting Town Clerk, Josephine Ncube to suspend the operations of Wellcash Debt Collectors (Pvt) (Ltd) who have been wreaking havoc in residential areas.
In giving his order, Mayor Manyenyeni acknowledged that the debt recovery methods by Wellcash Debt Collectors were brutal and that the Harare City Council has “little moral ground to demand these amounts from suffering residents when our cost structure is far from satisfactory”.
He further highlighted that it was unfair to squeeze money from suffering residents in order to allocate 70 percent of that money to salaries at the expense of service delivery.
More importantly, Mayor Manyenyeni highlighted that the correctness of the outstanding debts to council is contested for a significant number of the rate payers who were targeted by Wellcash Debt Collectors.
CHRA noted that Manyenyeni has vindicated long held calls for a debt audit as most residents in Harare are being charged high amounts which are based on estimates.
“His assertion amplifies the call for a debt audit that will establish the correct amount residents owe to council thus ensuring that residents are not robbed of their hard earned cash as has been the case.
“It is quite regrettable that despite the fact that most of the debts residents were reported to owe council were highly questionable, a huge number of residents lost their property and money when the Harare City Council enlisted the services of Wellcash Debt Collectors,” noted CHRA in a statement released on Friday.
The residents body applauded the acknowledgment by Mayor Manyenyeni that residents who are not receiving council water are being charged for water consumption.
“In this regard, CHRA calls upon responsible authorities to implement and respect a 2014 council resolution to the effect that residents who have not received water from the years preceding 2014 must not be charged fixed water charges,” further noted CHRA.
The organisation called on Harare councilors to support Manyenyeni’s move, “CHRA urges Harare City councilors to support the noble initiative by Mayor Manyenyeni in light of spirited efforts from some quarters to disregard the Mayor’s directive.”