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Harare to name, shame defaulting churches

By Helen Kadirire

Harare City Council is threatening to name and shame churches that owe council millions in unpaid rates and lease fees amounting to more than $10 million.

Celebrate Centre in Harare
Celebrate Centre in Harare

Council corporate communications manager Michael Chideme told the Daily News on Sunday that the move was necessitated by the huge debt that the churches owe.

The last time council published the debtors from schools and churches was in 2017 when collectively the institutions owed over $8 million.

“Council will soon publish the names of church organisations whose unpaid rates and lease fees have accumulated over the past few years. The publication of the debtors list will help show which church organisations are using free land and not contributing towards service delivery,” Chideme said.

The council spokesperson said since the last list was published the churches did not even attempt to clear their arrears or make any payment plans.

“Council hopes the churches will appeal to their conscience to avoid any inconveniences and pay or risk having their lease agreements cancelled.”

In 2017 the city published a long list of churches, schools and other institutions that owed council various amounts.

Celebration Church led the pack owing $846 564, Apostolic Faith Mission $682 231, Seventh Day Adventist $615 964 and Salvation Army $309 511.

According to the list of debtors Moffat Primary School owed council $406 056, Herentals College $411 529, Churchill Boys High School owed $265 880, Allan Wilson $342 839, Morgan High School $206 847, Admiral Tait $118 939, Vainona High $109 941, Cranborne Boys High $123 398 and Prince Edward $88 491.

Harare Polytechnic owed council $252 614, while Belvedere Teachers College had a debt of $109 413, Blackiston Infant $102 848, Selbourne Routledge $133 437, Denmark College $237 820,

TelOne Telecoms College $144 470 and Speciss College $165 402.

Topping the list of defaulting hotels was Dawson Hotel at $463 296, Cresta Lodge $388 986, Ambassador Hotel $360 215, Courtney $346 733, Meikles Hotel $208 188 and Budget Hotel $231 047.

Other defaulters were Dawn Properties $1,7 million, Knight Frank $962 605, Robert Roots $355 100, Mining Industry Pension Fund $117 060, First Mutual $140 928, Croco Motors 244 626 and Bard Real Estate $68 016. DailyNews