25 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Harare City Council Returns Attached Property

THE Harare City Council last week started returning some of the properties it had attached from residents of Rugare suburb over non-payment of rates.

One of those who got her property back was Eveline Njazi, who was recently featured in The Standard after council took her four-piece sofas, a room divider, a kitchen table, two fans, a carpet and a heater.

She owed the local authority US$1 050,80 in unsettled bills.

"The property was brought back by Municipal Police," Njazi's son, Josias said. "They brought back everything although the sofa was damaged and I had to repair it."

Josias said he still could not afford to settle the huge bill but promised to pay whatever amount of money the family got until the debt was cleared.

"We have not yet received any communication from the municipality but the local councillor [Peter Moyo] advised us to pay what we could and that is what we are going to do going forward," he said.

Harare Residents Trust (HRT) communications officer, Charles Mazorodze said the trust had recorded more than 500 cases of attachments in Rugare alone.

Out of those cases, only two residents had reported receiving their property by Thursday last week.

"The problem is that the residents are being told to go and collect the goods at a warehouse in Southerton and that is an extra cost to the suffering residents," Mazorodze said. "One of the people got their property back but the kitchen unit was damaged."

He said the HRT was preparing to take the council to court over the issue of serving residents with letters of final demand and property attachments, which he said was a form of harassment, considering that the city was providing a shoddy service.

For several years, the council has been failing to provide clean running water or to collect refuse, regularly exposing residents to diseases.

Efforts to get a comment from Harare City Council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi were fruitless last week.

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