City of Harare issues over 1,000 court summonses to recover unpaid rates


HARARE — The City of Harare has launched a determined effort to reclaim a substantial portion of the ZiG940 million (approximately US$70 million) owed in unpaid rates. 

City of Harare to recover Debts

More than 1,000 ratepayers, burdened by overdue balances exceeding 60 days, have received 14-day letters of final demand. 

These letters were followed by court summonses delivered between April 15 and 19. The local authority plans to issue not less than 2,000 summonses every week.

In a statement, the City of Harare emphasized its commitment to resolving outstanding debts. It urged ratepayers to settle their dues promptly to avoid legal proceedings. 

Those who have already been served with summonses and are willing to settle can contact the accounts department to expedite the process, the local authority said. 

Harare's town clerk, Engineer Hosiah Chisango, described the current debt situation as "paralyzing" for council operations. 

The move to issue summonses aligns with Sections 279 and 281 of the Urban Councils Act, which empower local authorities to take legal steps for debt recovery.

Section 279 of the Act states that the owner of any property on the date when a rate becomes due and payable is primarily liable for that rate. 

If the owner fails to pay, a written demand can be served, requiring payment within fourteen days.

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