Abel Zhakata Senior Reporter
MUTARE City Council revenue collection is in a mess as close to half of all the properties in the city are non-existent on the local authority’s billing system.
This means that more than 20 000 families or companies are either living or operating for free in the urban municipality for they have not paid a cent for services and other deliverables.
The shocking figures were revealed by the Town Clerk Mr Joshua Maligwa on Wednesday.
He said council was prejudiced millions of dollars over the years.
“The billing system is in a mess and we need to correct it with urgency. These are loopholes that have been bleeding council financially over the years,” he said.
“This shocking anomaly was exposed by our Geographical Information System team which is working with the new ICT manager to capture and update all properties into our database. In Mutare we have a total of 48 843 properties but after the GIS exercise 15 000 of these were there in our database. From the 48 843 only 27 000 were captured in the billing system which means that the remaining figure was not being billed.”
Mr Maligwa said of the 27 000 properties that were being billed only 18 000 were being charged all the utilities council was providing while the remaining 9 000 were not paying for some of the services in unclear circumstances.
“Shockingly, there were about 7 000 properties with negative figures on their accounts running into thousands of dollars which meant that council owed them money. The impression here was that these clients were paying their bills in advance. Paying for services they have not been offered. You will be surprised to see that some of the properties that were not being billed are located right in the Central Business District,” he said.
The town clerk said the local authority was collecting around $2,3 million every month but the figure is expected to rise to about $3 million by July this year and to reach $5 million by year end as council moves quickly to complete the GIS exercise.
“We have done Hobhouse and by end of May we would have finished doing the CBD and industrial area,” he said.