THE 43 vehicles seized from Masvingo City Council over workers’ outstanding salaries amounting to $3,5 million risk turning into write-offs after the Deputy Sheriff barred the local authority from running their engines or carrying out basic maintenance to keep them in top form.
By Tatenda Chitagu
In 2012, the council lost its entire fleet, including the then mayoral Mercedes-Benz allocated to the now late Alderman Femius Chakabuda, after employees successfully sued for outstanding salary increments.
Since then, the vehicles have been wearing out under the custody of Two-Muzaya Auctioneers. Storage fees for the cars have spiralled to $88 000, with both the council and workers trading barbs over who should settle the amount.
Councillors recently expressed concern that the vehicles may be a complete write off as the Deputy Sheriff has allegedly blocked council officials from entering the premises to carry out regular engine checks.
Latest minutes of council’s finance and general purposes committee read: “Consideration was given to the report of the city engineer on the state of council cars impounded by the Deputy Sheriff. It was reported that the Deputy Sheriff had not been co-operating with council with regards to the request to providing access to start vehicles impounded by his office.
“The committee noted with concern the issue. The chamber secretary was instructed to follow up with the Deputy Sheriff to allow council employees to regularly start council vehicles held by the Deputy Sheriff.”
The councillors have since tasked acting chamber secretary Vitalis Shonhai to engage the Deputy Sherriff to grant them access to the vehicles.
Efforts to contact the auctioneers drew blanks yesterday.