The Sunday News
Sharon Chimenya, Masvingo Correspondent
MASVINGO City Council will this month engage a legal firm to help the local authority recover more than $162 million it is owed by ratepayers.
According to the recent Finance and General-Purpose committee minutes, finance director Ms Thandiwe Dube was instructed to intensify follow up on schools and colleges at the commencement of their education calendar over unpaid rates.
“The Committee raised concern on Masvingo Polytechnic College that was in arrears but not making efforts to clear their bills because they were using borehole water. The acting director of Engineering Services Mr Kudzaishe Mbetu was tasked to investigate the status of the borehole, and take appropriate action. On debt collection strategies, it was reported that the tender for debt collection was flighted and a legal firm would be engaged by Council by mid-April 2021,” read part of the minute.
The finance and general-purpose committee also noted the need to maximise debt collection at the opening of schools when their cash flow position would be sound.
“The finance director was instructed to intensify follow up on schools and colleges at the commencement of their education calendar. On council schools, the finance director was advised to engage all school heads on the need to settle their service charges arrears.”
Meanwhile, the local authority is seeking authority to borrow from the Estates Account for the payment of a mini bus at a cost US$$18 400.
“It was reported that Council procured a mini bus at a cost of US$18 400 and was delivered in February 2021.
Authority was being made to borrow funds from the Estates Account for the payment which would be payable over a period of 12 months, at an interest rate of five percent. If payment would be done in Zimbabwe dollars, the prevailing auction rate would apply. The request was granted,” read part of the minutes.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the council’s $125 million devolution funds are set to go towards the completion of Mucheke trunk sewer pipe. The project comprises construction of a seven-kilometre trunk gravity pipeline to convey sewer from the high-density suburbs of Rujeko, Mucheke and the fast-growing Victoria Ranch Township on the western outskirts of the city. The trunk sewer is set to ease sewer blockages.
The project was suspended 10 years ago due to lack of funding. Speaking during a full council meeting, Town Clerk Engineer Edward Mukaratirwa this year’s allocation will be used to put the pipes that were bought with part of the 2019-20 devolution funds in the ground.