The Daily News reports that the Harare City Council is threatening to name and shame churches that owe council millions in unpaid rates and lease fees amounting to more than $10 million.
Council corporate communications manager Michael Chideme told the tabloid last Sunday that the move was necessitated by the huge debt that the churches owe.
“Council will soon publish the names of church organisations whose unpaid rates and lease fees have accumulated over the past few years. The publication of the debtors list will help show which church organisations are using free land and not contributing towards service delivery,” Chideme said.
The council spokesperson said since the last list was published the churches did not even attempt to clear their arrears or make any payment plans.
“Council hopes the churches will appeal to their conscience to avoid any inconveniences and pay or risk having their lease agreements cancelled.”
The last time the council published the debtors from schools and churches was in 2017 when collectively the institutions owed over $8 million.
In that year, the city published a long list of churches, schools and other institutions that owed council various amounts and among them were the Celebration Church which led the pack owing $846 564, Apostolic Faith Mission $682 231, Seventh Day Adventist $615 964 and Salvation Army $309 511.
Other defaulters were TelOne Telecoms College, Churchill Boys High School, Dawn Properties, Dawson Hotel, Knight Frank, Robert Roots, Mining Industry Pension Fund, First Mutual, Croco Motors and Bard Real Estate, Cresta Lodge, Ambassador Hotel, Courtney, Meikles Hotel and Budget Hotel, among others.
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