By Correspondent

The opposition controlled Harare City Council is owed over $16 billion by central government raising fears that the ZANU PF Government may be sabotaging them.

Speaking to the media this week Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume said the failure by government to pay its dues had resulted in Council failing to pay for its own needs.

“We are owed over ZWL$16bn by the government, ZWL$45bn by business and residents and the debt is increasing.

“We have tried to use summons but it is difficult because there is resistance from residents.

“We have tried cutting off water but again, water is a right and there is an uproar.

Mafume added that Harare is also owed ZWL$2bn by Ruwa, Chitungwiza, Norton and Epworth for the water which it provides them.

“One week we had to shut off Norton and there was an uproar from the Ministry of Health and everybody else saying that it will create diseases,” he added.

Mafume said because of this Council has been struggling to pay for its own services.

Currently it owes Chemplex, which supplies water treatment chemicals, nearly US$2,1 million.

Bad Economy and Sabotage

“All the other service providers including the government are now asking you to pay in advance, you pay in advance to go on a road, to get a passport, to go to a clinic and electricity.

“The city councils are the only ones that give you a service and then try to chase up the money later.

“It is an unsustainable model.

“You can’t survive in this hyperinflationary environment and the economy is being mismanaged and therefore asking someone to pay later is a recipe for non-payment.

The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) led Council has repeatedly accused central government of sabotaging it as a way of winning political points.

It has cited such cases as refusal to pay debts, refusal to approve appointments and acquisitions and the late approval of budgets, among many queer decisions.

However central government has in turn rebuffed the accusations while accusing Council of incompetence.

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