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ZETDC Threatens To Switch Off Kariba Municipality Over $39M Bill


BY YEUKAI CHOGURWEI IN KARIBA

THE Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) has threatened to switch off power at Kariba Municipality's water treatment plants over an outstanding $39 million bill.

The impending disconnection of electricity is likely to plunge the resort town's residents in a quandary as water taps would run dry.

Kariba mayor, George Masendu confirmed the development to NewsAnchor.

“ZETDC officials from Chinhoyi were here on Friday to disconnect our water 

stations. 

"We engaged them and communicated with their seniors to give us time to settle this issue. They gave us up to Monday (today 30 August) evening. l hope we will agree on a payment plan," said Masendu.

The mayor acknowledged the matter had gone unresolved for long, and encouraged residents, ratepayers and other stakeholders to pay their bills inorder to capacitate the municipality to meet its debt obligations.

The council is owed $99 million in unpaid municipal service charges by residents and ratepayers.

"Our debt ballooned to $99 000 000 due to Covid-19 as council is unable to force residents to pay their bills. However, we will soon embark on a campaign to force stakeholders to settle their bills," said Masendu.

Council finance committee chairperson, Ralph Maoneyi was optimistic the impasse with ZETDC would be resolved without the power utility resorting to switching off power at water stations.

“For the past 48 hours, there have been efforts to resolve the matter. We are in a difficult situation where what is being demanded by ZETDC, and what can be managed by council, are not tallying.

"I am, however, hopeful that there will be an agreed payment plan. We are not in a normal situation and cannot afford to go without water during this pandemic. We had challenges paying ZETDC since the majority of residents were also not paying rates during the lockdown," Maoneyi said.

Kariba residents reacted differently on various virtual platforms since the debt announcement was made.

“Some stakeholders like myself do not owe a penny to council. What then are you going to do to make sure there is no disruption of water supply to our homes? We need uninterrupted water supply," said a resident on a WhatsApp platform.

“How can a whole council go for years without paying? Since year 2009, council never paid a cent to ZETDC and you expect to tarnish ZETDC by soiling their name here? That's nonsense. User pay principle must apply. 

Please ZETDC disconnect," said another resident.

Some residents accused the council of profligacy that saw it buying expensive cars for top council officials, late last year.


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