Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
URBAN local authorities are lobbying for garnishing powers to recover funds owed by institutions and individuals defaulting from paying rates.
The proposal came up during the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) conference that ended on Saturday in Bulawayo.
Council officials said non-payment of rates was a serious issue affecting service delivery in local authorities.
Contributing on the matter, Harare Mayor Councillor Herbert Gomba after a presentation by Bulawayo City Council Director of Engineering Services, Engineer Simela Dube, proposed that local authorities be given garnishing powers which he said will end the culture of non-payment of bills.
“Plead for garnishing powers tomorrow the minister (of Local Government and Public Works July Moyo) would be here and the President would be here so that we would be able to garnish church leaders who are going for holidays in Dubai without paying local authorities.
“Let’s garnish companies some of them who are presenting here who are owing local authorities so much in terms of money and are not paying at all,” said Clr Gomba.
“This culture of people not paying, it’s only here in Zimbabwe, go out there and study other countries like America, you don’t just wake up and ignore municipal bills.
“We must transform the thinking of our people so that we make it possible for them to pay municipal bills.”
In response, Eng Dube said Clr Gomba’s proposal could be explored under devolution of power as it gives local authorities more power.
“Your contribution is that local authorities should have their own revenue authority, which maybe I think is also a devolution issue. Both the issue of revenue authority and also the issue of garnishing and we must be pursuing going forward,” said Eng Dube.
He said when it comes to tariffs adjustments, local authorities were constrained to effectively operate as they have to seek approval from the ministry’s head office before making decisions while prices of products will be skyrocketing.
President Mnangagwa addressed the UCAZ conference last Friday and warned councillors and council management from abusing public funds.
The President said Government was committed to implementing devolution of power.—@nqotshili