14 June 2018

Zimbabwe: Mbare Hostels Owe Zesa $10m

Mbare hostels have become a liability to Harare City Council, amid revelations residents now owe Zesa Holdings $10 million in unpaid bills.

ZESA bills council instead of the tenants as the hostels belong to the municipality.

Council confirmed the debt in a post on Facebook on Tuesday.

"The 58 Mbare hostels have an outstanding electricity bill of $10 million. The money is billed to council," said the city council.

"Moves underway to have the individual apartments have their own prepaid power meters. Council can no longer shoulder the power bill."

Last year, city council indicated it was renovating the Mbare hostels in a partnership deal with CBZ Bank.

The move was expected to bring orderliness at the hostels.

This would make it easy for council and other service providers to bill tenants.

Council said the renovations entailed building new blocks, which would house the families in the hostels set for renovations.

Harare City Council spokesperson Michael Chideme told The Herald last November that renovations had started.

"In this case, we first build a set of blocks and once complete then we decamp some families into the new modern flats," he said.

"In some cases, we are saying if a flat is still fit, we go for renovations and in some cases if the flat fitness is in question, then we will completely demolish and build new ones."

It is estimated that all the city council flats in Mbare house 7 000 people.

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