Harare City Council can disconnect water defaulters without a court order, provided the city follows provisions of the Harare (Water) By-laws S.164-1913, the High Court has ruled.
The by-law requires council to give 24 hours notice before disconnecting supplies.
The Court, however, said where the bill was genuinely disputed, there should be recourse at the courts before council disconnected the water supply.
The city is now going on a massive exercise to disconnect defaulters and recover its money which it wants to plough back into service delivery.
Council is owed over $530 million by its customers.
The ruling was made in a case in which lawyer, Mr Tinofara Hove, took council to Court seeking to interdict the city from disconnecting his water supplies without a court order after accruing an $18 600 water bill.
Mr Hove had illegally changed the use of his residential property to commercial to operate a law firm.
The High Court noted that the Harare (Water) By-laws were still valid and could be applied by council provided it follows the provisions of the by-laws.
“I believe that where there is a genuine dispute there should be recourse to the courts for remedies, but in a case where the charges are being disputed for the sake of avoiding payment and buying time no such recourse is necessary,” ruled the court.