Ratepayers in Bulawayo owe the local authority over ZWL$800 million as of December 31, 2020, in unpaid bills at a time when the City Council is struggling to deliver basic services.
Residents owe ZWL$391 million while institutions owe ZWL$416 million.
According to the debtors list released by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) Wednesday, residents in the CBD together with those residing in the low density suburbs (Wards 1 to 6) owe the City Council more than their counterparts in the western suburbs.
Wards 1 to 7 owe the local authority more than half the entire debt at a combined figure of ZWL$471.14 million.
The remainder of the debt is shared among the remaining 22 wards.
A breakdown of the debt shows that Ward 1, which covers the central business district (CBD), owes the highest amount of ZWL$13.64 million of which ZWL$112.31 is by institutions while ZWL$18.34 is the domestic debt.
Ward 6, which covers Bellevue, South Wold and Barham Green owes ZWL$84.82 million, Ward 7 (Belmont, Westgate and Makokoba) owes ZWL$73.24 million, Ward 4 (Waterford, Matsheumhlope and Burnside) owes ZWL61.38 million and Ward 3 (Mahatshula, Khumalo and Killarney) ZWL$59.16 million.
“Residents are encouraged to pay their bills for sustainable service delivery,” said the local authority, in the debt release.
Larry Mpofu, a resident said the fact that people in the eastern suburbs owe more was an indictment on those living in the western areas who are the most affected by the deteriorating service delivery in the city.
“These people are burdening the rest of Bulawayo and BCC must start where they are most indebted,” he told CITE.