Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has taken Vice-President John Nkomo’s company, Da’guair Tyre Services, together with a senior Zapu leader, Tryphine Nhliziyo, to the High Court over a combined debt of $13 000 in unpaid rates.
The council — which has embarked on a blitz to recover over $77 million in unpaid rates — said some of the arrears dated back to 2009.
The city fathers have filed summons against Da’guair Tyre Services for an $8 425, 43 debt while Nhliziyo is being sued for $4 398, 34 over unpaid rates at her house in Old Magwegwe suburb.
Nhliziyo is a former Zanu PF stalwart until her recent defection to Zapu led by former Zanu PF politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa.
According to High Court case number 1046/11, Nkomo’s company is alleged to have failed to pay the city council from March 2009 up to February this year.
“The plaintiff’s claim against defendant is for payment of the sum of $8 425, 43 being the sum of rates levied by the plaintiff in respect of the defendant’s immovable property being Da’guair Tyre Services situated at 123 Main Street, which are in respect of the period between March 2009 to February 2011, which sum despite demand, defendant fails to pay.
“Payment be made in respect of the prescribed rate from March 2009 to date of full payment and costs of suit including amount calculated at 10% by the Law Society of Zimbabwe by-laws or a further and alternative relief,” submitted BCC through their lawyers Majoko and Majoko.
Da’guair has not filed any notice to defend the lawsuit.
Strenuous efforts to get a comment from both the Vice-President and his son Jabulani, who runs the family business, were fruitless yesterday as they were reportedly said to be out of the country.
In Nhliziyo’s case 1026/11 in which BCC used another law firm, Sansole and Senda, to file the lawsuit, the businesswoman, who owns retail shops in the city, owes the local authority $4 398, 34 for the same period over unpaid rates at her house.
“Wherefore, the plaintiff claims payment of $4 398, 34 for services rendered for the period March 2009 to February 2011. Interest at the prescribed rate from date of summons to date of payment in full and pay cost of suit.”
She has also not defended the lawsuit by BCC.
The cash-strapped BCC is owed $77 million by account holders, a situation that has seen it failing to pay its creditors including the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa), which it owes $9,2 million.
Zesa responded by disconnecting power supplies to three of the council’s strategic buildings — City Hall, Tower Block and Revenue Hall — in a bid to force the municipality to pay its debt or at least a substantial part of it.
Efforts were made to engage each other on the issue, but talks collapsed after the power utility rejected a payment offer by the municipality following an initial round of talks saying it was “too little”.
NewsDay could not establish how much BCC had offered to pay for power reconnection and supplies are yet to be restored at the buildings. The local authority has resorted to using generators at these premises.