Delta challenge council penalties

DELTA Beverages Bulawayo branch is seeking a reversal of penalties and interest charged by the Bulawayo City Council backdated to 2012 amounting to more than $500 000 and a 50% once-off discount on its accounts.

CHIEF REPORTER

The beer and soft drink maker sought to take advantage of the local authority’s incentive initiative offered to firms operating in Bulawayo.

Earlier this year, council unveiled various incentives for companies which included reducing annual charges for business licences by as much as 40% in some instances. Council has also been offering a once-off discount of 50% on company account balances since December 31 2013 if settled before June 30 this year.

Delta wrote to council seeking a cancellation.

“This is in response to the press release by the honourable mayor. We are excited about the schemes that were shared and have no doubt they will contribute towards resuscitation of industry in Bulawayo,” Delta wrote in the letter to council.

“We are therefore requesting for the reversal of penalties and interest charged to us as detailed below. These are charges from November 2012 to December 2013. Penalties $601 462,83; interest $7 234,96, total $608 697,79.

“We are also requesting for the 50% once-off discount from our account as at December 31 2013.”

In response, council finance director Kimpton Ndimande said the request “cannot be acceded to as it is not in line with the spirit of the incentives”.

“Please be advised that the incentive scheme was approved by council in December 2013. As such, the benefits of reversal of penalties and interest affect transactions passed on your accounts with effect from December 2013 to June 2014.

“Thus your request to backdate the reversal to periods prior to December 2013 cannot be acceded to as it is not in line with the spirit of the incentives,” Ndimande said.

Council then recommended that Delta Beverages’ request be addressed in the scheme that would cater for good paying consumers who were excluded in the ministerial directive.

This comes in the wake of the government’s recent directive to the financially struggling local authority to reduce its 2014 revenue budget by $10 million, a move council said would have knock on effects on service delivery and entire operations..

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