According to Open Parly, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has garnished Harare City council’s accounts as they try to recover $115 000 000 ZWL in tax arrears. With the city council already struggling with service delivery and is probably going to be further affected by the latest move. What doesn’t help the situation is that there appears to be a deliberate attempt by the national government to sabotage city councils and make sure they fail.

With the pandemic raging the struggling city needs all the help it can get. According to council officials the COVID-19 pandemic has severly impacted on the city’s ability to collect revenue. For example with most people barred from the CBD the council cannot collect parking fees. Some residents have also started defaulting on their bills as most are not going to work due to the lockdown.

In 2019 government had to write off ZWL$135 million owed to ZIMRA by Council as part of measures to capacitate the local authority to deal with the still prevailing challenges of water and general service delivery.

The ZWL$135 million of penalties had accumulated over years from a ZWL$30 million debt leaving the City Council owing the government ZWL$170 million.

OpenParly on the issue of the debt

The result has been that the city has hardly been collecting refuse with stinking piles of refuse on almost every corner. According to city officials they have no fuel to put into trucks. The council has also complained that it will be unable to keep paying its workers if problems persist. The situation is not helped by the fact that so many councillors have been arrested to the extent that a quorum cannot be formed at council meetings.