…gives 14 days ultimatum
The cash strapped City of Masvingo has given the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) a 14 days ultimatum to settle their debt amounting to $10 709 881,22 as at October 31, 2020 failure of which the local authority would hand over the matter to debt collectors.
The ultimatum was given during the Finance and General Purpose Committee meeting held on November 23, 2020 after noting that the police had not been forthcoming in paying their water bills.
Minutes from the meeting indicate that the police have been deaf to various calls by the local authority to settle their water bills or commit to a payment plan.
“On institutional debtors it was reported that the Zimbabwe Republic Police had not been forthcoming in paying their water bills and debts amounting to $10 709 881,22 as at October 31, 2020 despite various engagements.
“The Finance director was instructed to formally advise the ZRP to settle their debts within fourteen days failure of which the council would hand them over for debt collection,” read the minutes.
The 14 days ultimatum lapses on December 7, 2020.
Council is owed in excess of $130 million with the police, army and prisons topping the list of heavy debtors.
The army and prisons are said to be committing to payment plans to settle their debts but the police has remained stubborn though receiving uninterrupted services.
Of the $131,2 million total debt owed to the city council, residential areas owe a combined 45 percent, institutions owe 43 percent and the Central Business District (CBD) owe 12 percent.
In their 2021 budget proposal, the city council says that the ballooning debt of $131,2 million against an opening balance of $50,4 million was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic that eroded the residents’ and businesses’ ability to generate income.
City of Masvingo mayor Collen Maboke and Town Clerk Edward Mukaratirwa could not be drawn into comment as they told TellZim News that they were in a meeting.
Acting Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Kudakwashe Dhewa said that they are unaware of any ultimatum.