Redcliff Municipality to drag residents to court

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By Kwekwe Correspondent

Financially strangled Redcliff Municipality which is battling to recover about $30 million from both residents and corporate citizens has threatened legal action against defaulters.

Town clerk Gilson Chakauya warned residents that council will resort to court action if they fail to settle their debts in the next 14 days.

“We hereby demand full payment of the outstanding amount within 14 days,” Chakauya said in a final letter of demand to the residents.

“If this matter is not resolved by the time specified above. I reserve the right to commence legal proceedings to recover the debt without further notice to you and this letter may be rendered in court as your evidence of failure to pay.

“Legal action may result in you having to pay legal costs, interest and could impact on your credit history.”

Residents owe the local authority an average of $1,000 each.

Some however disputed the sums demanded by council.

“I received a final letter of demand from the council with $2000 in debt,” said one resident.

“I really don’t know where the figure is coming from as our council has been struggling in the area of service delivery.

“They have been struggling to provide us with consistent water supplies; so, these letters come as a great shock to us.”

Mayor Clayton Masiyatsva pleaded with residents to own up to their financial obligations for an improved service delivery.

‘‘Our council sometime in 2016 handed over its residents to debt collectors such as well cash but latter decided to do away with externalisation of debt collection.

“Redcliff Municipality has since established an internal debt collection section and it is that section which is now reminding residents to come forward to talk to us, by making payment plans for us to have continuous supply of water from Kwekwe.

“We are owed more than $27 million by both residents and corporates, but we are not collecting enough from our stakeholders.

“We introduced discounts for December and January but only a few responded do for the benefit of service delivery and the town at large we are encouraging all residents who have received those final letters of demand to come forward and make payment plans.

“We are a listening council and expecting our residents to comply to our letters.”

Redcliff is also owed around $18 million by the now defunct steelmaker Zisco.

Government has since assumed the parastatal’s debt but is however, yet to make any payments to the municipality.

Council has since indicated that the Zisco debt has increased since the government takeover and is, through interest, accumulating an estimated $330,000 per month.

The MDC controlled council appears divided on the company’s debt with some councillors calling for a write off since government is proving to be a bad debtor.

Some however argue that a debt write off would render the local authority insolvent.