THE cash-strapped Kwekwe City Council on Tuesday saved itself from embarrassment after reaching a last-minute deal with 42 of its employees who won a High Court order to attach property over outstanding wages and salaries.
Kelvin Phiri and 41 employees of the council’s beer-selling arm Dandaro Marketing were granted an order by the Harare High Court on October 29 2013 compelling the municipality to pay them $48 941,90 in outstanding salaries and wages.
In December last year, the employees’ lawyer Innocent Hore obtained a writ of execution against the council and handed it over to the Deputy Sheriff with instructions to attach movable property owned by Dandaro.
“We had instructed the Deputy Sheriff to attach property after it became clear to us that the local authority was attempting to avoid the payment, but that process has now been stayed after we reached a payment plan,” Hore said.
Council paid $10 000 early this year and is expected to pay monthly tranches of $8 000 until the debt is settled.
Mayor Matenda Madzoke said he was not aware of the matter, but promised to check with council management.
“We are supposed to discuss these issues with council management at a full council on Friday and after that I will be able to comment,” he said.
Most local authorities were thrown into financial turmoil following a ministerial directive in the run-up to the July 31 harmonised elections for them to cancel all outstanding residential rates and water debts.
Kwekwe City Council was owed in excess of $21 million while it owed creditors more than $14 million. Madzoke, who was elected on a Zanu PF ticket, refused to comment on the impact the debt cancilation has had on his municipality.
“I am ill-informed to comment on that because when the directive was issued I was not in office.
“I only joined council after the elections,” he said.