By Helen Kadirire
Chitungwiza residents are not happy with council’s engagement of debt collectors as they argue that it is unlawful. According to residents who spoke to the Daily News, many of the residents who are senior citizens and unemployed cannot pay the huge sums being demanded to settle their debts.
The use of debt collectors has been hugely unsuccessful in the past with legislators even complaining about their use by local authorities.
“We are being asked to pay too much by Chitungwiza Town Council. When I went recently to pay $100 at the council offices, they rejected it arguing that my debt was too large to be settled by such a meagre amount. As a self-employed widow, I am trying my best to settle my debt but if they refuse the money I am giving them I do not know what else to do,” Sarah Gomba said.
Chitungwiza town clerk George Makunde said those with debts should settle them to avoid having debt collectors approach their homes.
Makunde urged residents to keep the letters of demand from the debt collectors and make payment plans because ignoring them would be costly on the ratepayer’s part.
“We are well within our rights to engage debt collectors. There are instances where council has tried to engage people but with no success which is why we opted for a debt collector. People had gone for too long without paying their bills which is why we engaged debt collectors,” Makunde said.
The town clerk added that for those receiving council services, even small payments of $1 were accepted as they would reduce the debt.
Chitungwiza and Manyame Residents Association director Marvellous Kumalo said while residents should pay their debts, there was a lot of confusion at council.
He said the local authority had two debt collectors, and unfortunately the residents were contributing towards their payment.
“With everything that is happening at council as it is facing over-bearing administrative costs, such burden must, however, not be transferred to citizens unreasonably.
“Residents should be allowed to pay any amount they can afford directly to council without being discriminated on,” he said. -DailyNews