BULAWAYO City CounciL (BCC) has called on ratepayers to expeditiously settle their bills to enable the local authority to hire more workers and improve service delivery.

BCC is owed over $189 million in unpaid bills.

Mayor Solomon Mguni last week encouraged residents to pay their rates, saying this would go a long way in alleviating problems faced by council.

“We continue to urge our residents to pay their bills on time to enable us to provide much-needed services to them. Without enough fiscal space, it is difficult for us to have full staff compliments to drive service delivery,” Mguni said.

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“If we are to employ additional staff, we must be able to look after their welfare and meet all statutory obligations.”

BCC recently flighted several advertisements for internship posts in various departments.

Council’s engineering committee chairperson Ernest Rafamoyo on Friday encouraged youths to take up internships posts in council to sharpen their skills.

“We might have a lot of vacancies in the city for now, but we do not have the money to hire. Opportunities might be there, but the current situation is not allowing,” he said.

“The only opportunity which has risen is those for attaches as you know the City of Bulawayo is well known for developing skills in young people.”

Most local authorities, owed millions by ratepayers, are not recruting after posts were frozen because of the current economic hardships.

Meanwhile, BCC has said it will start disconnecting water supplies to defaulting ratepayers in ward 7, which encompasses Makokoba, Mzilikazi and surrounding areas.

In a statement on Saturday, town clerk Christopher Dube warned residents of the impending water disconnections, urging unpaid ratepayers to visit council officials and negotiate payment terms.