Business, council clash over licences

BUSINESS OWNERS who have been denied the chance to renew their trading licences by Kwekwe City Council over outstanding rates and water debts have threatened to take court action against the local authority.

BLESSED MHLANGA
STAFF REPORTER

The threat to take council to court comes after the local authority, in an effort to recover over $7 million in outstanding water and rates debts, is refusing to renew trading licences for any business which owes it.

Lawyer Caroline Mugabe, acting on behalf of Justin Mandiwanza, who was denied a trading licence by town clerk Emmanuel Musara, wrote to the local authority advising her client will be forced to take court action if council refused to renew his licence.

“Our client advises that you have directed that he clear his rates first in order to obtain a trading licence for 2015,” part of the letter delivered to the Finance department reads.

“Our client undertakes to effect a payment towards reduction of his arrears within two weeks of receipt of his trading licence.

“We trust it shall not be necessary for us to employ other legal channels to ensure that he obtains a trading licence.”

Mayor Matenda Madzoke denied that his council had a resolution to deny business owners renewal of trading licences and called on those denied to seek audience with his office.

“We have no resolution or any agreement to that effect, what we agreed is that before getting a licence one should commit to a payment plan with us,” he said.

“However, as you know council is run by a lot of people, some who want to flex their muscles and pursue their own agenda, so if anyone faces these challenges they should approach my office instead of going to court,” he said.

On Wednesday council suffered another setback in its attempt to force debt clearance by closing water valves to defaulting resident’s homes after the Kwekwe Magistrates’ Courts ruled it was illegal.

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