Harare residents have expressed concern over the exorbitant charges of 4% on deceased estate duty charged by government.

In a statement yesterday, the Harare Residents Trust said the fee charged should be in tandem with what used to happen during the colonial era when a flat fee of only $100 was charged to change ownership of the estate.

“Residents around Harare have expressed great concern on the payment of 4% deceased estate duty,” read the statement.

“During the colonial era, people were charged a flat fare which was affordable at $100, and residents are raising questions as to why should they pay 4% to change the name on the property that they built with their own funds,” they said.

Harare Metropolitan Residents Forum spokesperson Marvellous Khumalo said they also felt that government was commercialising transactions involving estates of late persons.

“The problem is that it then affects the spouse and the children that should be the beneficiaries of the estate as they have to pay the 4% charge to change the name of the estate. This should not be commercialised because in most cases the bread winner would have died and some of the widows that have to pay are unemployed,” Khumalo said.
He said the practice had left some families destitute, and some widows left homeless after failing to change ownership of their family property.

“The fee should be negotiated so that it is commensurate with what used to be charged during the colonial era which was a flat fee of $100. We are told that the fee is meant to cover administration fees, but these must not be commercialised,” he said.

Khumalo said due to the 4% fee, residents’ associations recorded large numbers of widows whose property was attached after failing to pay the fee to process change of ownership of estates.

“We recommend that central government should act and come up with an affordable flat figure,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s laws require that the estate of every deceased person be registered within 14 days from the date of death by the next of kin.

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