Harare residents have been shocked by recent Harare Council bills which the authorities allege to be a result of backdated figures.
A recent report by the Combined Harare Residents Association alleges that Council backdated rates increase from January 2020.
The shocker comes at a time when the City’s Audit Committee had observed that during migration of data from the previous billing system (BIQ) to SAGE there has been mismatch of data from the original system.
According to CHRA, “this has a potential risk of manipulation of figures and erroneous billing on most ratepayers in the City”.
The City has been up in arms with the Minister of Local Government for failing to have a proper billing system up and running.
Recently in a letter of approval of the City 2020 Budget the Minister of Local government noted that “despite assurances that the ERP (billing system) project is on course the lack of proper billing clearly indicates that this is not correct.”
A quoted Kanbuzuma resident alleges that “I consistently pay my monthly bills to council and I do not have any debt but surprisingly last week the revenue officer told me that I owe council ZW$1000”.
The City’s chaotic billing system has become a perennial problem since 2005 with the City assuring ratepayers that the problem will be a thing of the past.
This has raised eyebrows on the claims by the City of the amounts owed to them by ratepayers with CSOs demanding that a debt audit be conducted to ascertain the real debt of ratepayers to the City.
CHRA has since called on the City of Harare to seriously look into the issue and address the billing issues as they have a serious bearing on payment of rates by ratepayers.