Zaka – The cash-strapped Zaka Rural District Council (RDC), which is struggling to pay its workers, has hired Paul Mangwana of Mangwana and Partners Legal Practitioners as their debt collector in a desperate effort to force hungry villagers to pay their taxes.
Zaka RDC gets much of its revenue from villagers in the district but they have not been paying their taxes in time due to the ravaging hunger.
In his report to the Full Council Meeting recently, Zaka RDC's chief executive officer David Majaura said hiring debt collector will improve revenue collection.
"We have limited tax inflow and this is affecting council's operations. There have been delays in paying the management and we hope the debt collector will improve revenue collection," said Majaura.
Mangwana, who was invited to the Full Council Meeting to explain to the councilors how he will operate before they could hire him, warned the local authority to improve its service delivery so that the ratepayers won't complain.
He however assured council that he will work hard to ensure that villagers pay their debts, just like what he is doing with the other 30 RDCs which engaged him throughout the country.
Councillors were told that hiring Mangwana to do debt collection will increase the cash inflow hence the finance committee in its 2017 budget reduced business taxes by 3%, market rates by 5% and business outside Jerera Central Business District (CBD) by 10%.
The social services committee also reduced Market fees from $5 -$3 but introduced pay toilets costing $0.50 and $0.25 respectively.
Zaka District Administrator (DA) Tapson Chivanga advised council to make sure that reducing the rates will not lead the local authority into another cash crisis
However, the move by Zaka RDC was challenged by the business community who were saying the council was supposed to have consulted or notified them before calling debt collectors.
Zaka business community chairperson Cleophas Ziki, who was equally astonished as some councilors who seemed not to understand who called Mangwana and yet they are the policy makers, said the council was supposed to give civic education to them first before they call debt collectors.
"Council should not take us by surprise; it is important that you inform stakeholders of the developments you intend to do than hiring a debt collector without notifying us," said Ziki.news