Informal traders operating at Glen View Area 8, Mbare and other areas across the capital have expressed concern over recent developments in which debts accrued at vending sites have been transferred to residential bills.
Many vendors in Glen View Area 8 and Highfield had their water supplies cut off after receiving bills of over US$2 000 from the City of Harare.
The vendors are alleging that the statements received clearly show that outstanding arrears from their vending sites have been added on to their residential bills.â€œWe received astronomical bills that show that the outstanding arrears from the vending sites have been added onto the normal bills and the question is why,â€ said one of the vendors.
Others said it is illogical for the city fathers to include these arrears from the business stands saying council should only withdraw their stands rather than disconnecting water supplies to residential properties.
â€œThe city fathers have a lot of explaining to do as business stands should remain on their own. We cannot have a situation whereby our water is cut off because of arrears accrued in business,â€ added another vendor.
Zimbabwe Home Industries and Markets Association Harare provincial chairperson, Ms Margret Zhanda called on government to intervene and bring sanity in the local authority claiming that ratepayers are being short changed.
Meanwhile, City of Harare Town Clerk, Dr Tendai Mahachi professed ignorance on the whole matter saying council did not make any decision to cut off water supplies due to arrears from business stands.
He however called on the affected residents to approach the city treasurers department for clarity.
â€œWe have no such policy and if it is happening maybe there are some elements within the council doing that and I would like to urge the residents to approach the relevant offices for assistance,â€ Dr. Mahachi said.
The City of Harareâ€™s billing system has come under fire from various quotas with residents claiming that some of the rates being charged are beyond the reach of many.
On Wednesday this week, the Minister of Water Resources Development and the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development held a joint press conference where they said local authorities should not disconnect water supplies to residents.